Video: Social media can transform healthcare, RCGP debate hears

Few GPs would follow Professor Clare Gerada's example and give patients their mobile telephone numbers or email addresses, the annual RCGP conference heard today.

The RCGP chair told delegates at a social media debate that she had given many of her patients, including doctors with addiction and mental illness problems, her email and mobile number.

The audience took a show of hands on the idea, with the majority saying they would not do the same.

Professor Gerada added: ‘I think it will be social media rather than telehealth or telecare that will transform healthcare.’

North east Scotland GP Dr Alison Douglas said: ‘I would argue that you should document professional communications not just to be defensive but to have a professional record.’

But Dr Ben Riley, RCGP medical director for e-learning, said emails or texts provided greater documentation than phone calls.

Belfast GP Dr Brian Cunningham said: ‘I’m old enough to have practised as a GP without a computer on my desk. When it arrived I was told it would save me 40 minutes a day. That hasn’t happened.

Other panellists said social networks had enabled them to receive peer support.

The RCGP is consulting on a social media highway code for GPs. To contribute, email your comments to or visit the college’s Facebook page.

* Editor's Blog: Should patients have their GP's mobile phone number and email address?

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

GP on phone in recorded consultation assessment

Consultation skills to help GP trainees pass the RCA

Dr Afsar Rizvi highlights the key skills GP trainees need to master in order to pass...

Wes Streeting

Labour promises same GP 'each appointment' and face-to-face access if patients want it

A Labour government would offer patients the chance to see 'the same doctor each...

Man wearing mask on train

UK faces serious threat from flu and COVID-19 'twindemic' this winter

There are strong indications the UK faces a dangerous 'twindemic' of COVID-19 and...

NHS sign outside a building

PCN contract overhaul defers two-week appointment target until April 2023

NHS England has announced changes to the network contract DES, including deferring...


NHS sets out priorities for extra GP funding this winter

Integrated care boards could target extra funding for general practice at phone systems,...

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves

Labour promises to double medical school places with tax cut reversal

A Labour government would double medical school places with funding raised from reversing...