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Stilton’s New Prong

Posted by Dr No on 29 March 2013

lance_of_many_prongs.jpgEarlier this week, Stilton published a new edition of Good Medical Practice, the lance of many prongs which he and his goons use to skewer hapless doctors. Stilton’s premise is that doctors are a lawless reckless lot, and left to their own devices they will get up to all manner of mischief. From their hidden position behind the net curtains, Stilton’s goons have perceived a new mischief: the menace of doctors who appear incognito on social media. A prong – a somewhat bent prong, since most content on social media is publicly accessible – has been added to Stilton’s lance. New explanatory guidance alongside GMP warns: ‘If you identify yourself as a doctor in publicly accessible social media, you should also identify yourself by name’. Although framed as a ‘should’ rather than a ‘must’, this bent prong has its sights clearly set. For doctors foolish enough to carry on the anonymous caper, Stilton is coming to get you: ‘You should also be aware that content uploaded anonymously can, in many cases, be traced back to its point of origin’. Dr No is not entirely persuaded that GMC goons can trace their arses from their elbows, let alone trace Dr through the complex web of shared internet service provision; but, be that as it may, anonymous medical bloggers are up in arms.

As they should be. Free speech, and more generally freedom of expression, is not limited to the agreeable: it ‘includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative provided it does not tend to provoke violence.’ Freedom of expression also includes the freedom not to express, including the freedom not to express one’s identity, or to express oneself under a pseudonym, for what is Anonymous, if not a generic pseudonym? Whatever arguments can be made for and against pseudonymous or anonymous publication, and there are many that can be made on both sides, none of them are universally conclusive; and certainly none trump freedom of expression, in words of one’s own choosing, under a name of one’s own choosing, as long as one does not tend to provoke violence. The happenstance of being a doctor is irrelevant.


well, Dr No, there is a lot of it about. I think very few anonymous drs are unprofessional in describing patients. Many though hold government health policy and their flunkeys at the GMC in contempt. It must be best to silence the troublemakers before they reach the public.

I think you're going to require the 'old and bold' brigade to carry on blogging, Dr No. You, Dr G and Dr Zorro may find that your retirement is not so retiring after all. And then there's folk like me who have never had anything to do with the GMC and never want to..

Particularly depressing article on p19 of the Sunday Times about GP consortia deciding that the companies that they belong to are jolly fine fellows and awarding them the local health contracts. Well, we told you so..

My word captcha is aerze, btw. Is that old Anglo Saxon for the GMC?

the GMS - with all its guidance, covers the arse of a doctor's right to JUDGE a patient/carer's ability to handle information, the NEED if any to supply that and indeed, the RIGHT to give none at all....whether dealing with off-label, unlicensed drugs or ADRs of known drugs.
This medical paternalism or arrogant God-Complex as we poor portals choose to call it, as it is so much easier to handle, disgusts me.
Transparency, Involvement of public in care decisions, and Statistics which the GMC hides, NOW reaches into the area of OPINIONS? of Doctors willing to be people - with a voice?
What an arrogant unethical council!.
in fact it hides the malpractice still in frequent use in ALL our surgeries.
i can not WAIT until the GMC is taken to legal challenge about its stance...

Dear Dr No,

I have gone underground and taken my blog offline. The new guidance was the final straw. Just wanted to express my thanks for sparring with me over the years. It has helped me reflect on a few aspects of my life and career. Best wishes and happy sailing.


I did wonder: your feed to 'Dr No Reads...' went funny, and when I looked a few days ago, I thought you had probably taken your blog offline. I shall miss our exchanges, as I know will many others miss your contributions. Best wishes, and happy whatever it is you do to escape the madness of King Stilton.


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