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Guidance for doctors on how to handle media queries

15 September 2008

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The Medical Protection Society (MPS) has launched a guide aimed at giving advice to doctors on how to handle approaches from the media for comment while still respecting patient confidentiality.

The Media Handling Guide has been developed as a tool for all doctors to refer to when dealing with the media and is also available to all trusts and practice managers.

Some of the data contained in the guide has been based on the results of a survey of more than 600 doctors on their experience of dealing with the media.

The survey revealed that 10% of GPs have been contacted by the press about a patient, while 60% of doctors rating media coverage about healthcare professionals as negative or very negative.

An overwhelming majority of 85% of doctors recognised that patients who complain to the press do not forfeit their right to patient confidentiality.

Dr Stephanie Bown, director of policy and communications at MPS, said: “Our media guide is published at a time when the GMC are consulting on their Guidance on Confidentiality, specifically how doctors respond to criticism in the press.

“We welcome the GMC’s recognition of the need for advice in light of the increasing media criticism faced by doctors who are already working in a challenging environment.”

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