Can I speak to a journalist off the record?

This is not advisable. Journalists will record or take down everything you or your staff say and they can use it in their story.

Even if the journalist agrees to an off-the-record discussion, this generally implies they will report what you have said but may not attribute it directly to you in the published story (usually off-the-record comments are attributed to 'a source'). When the story appears it may well be obvious to the patient (and the GMC) who provided the information.

In most cases, it is better to say as little as possible. Even confirming that someone is a patient at your practice without their consent could be seen as a breach of confidentiality.

We strongly advise you to call the MDU press office before speaking to a journalist.

This page was correct at publication on 14/08/2018. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.