Majority of respondents use social media at least once a day, survey of doctors finds

The overwhelming majority (80%) of survey respondents use social media, with 78% using it at least once a day, according to new research by the Medical Defence Union (MDU).

The survey of 1,797 MDU members also revealed that the most popular channels were Facebook, which is used by 75%, followed by Instagram and YouTube, which are both used by 54% of respondents. 

Common reasons for using social media included keeping in touch with friends and family (80%), joining interest groups or online communities (48%) and to be entertained (45%).

Of the 20% who stated they don’t use or engage with social media, most cite privacy concerns (56%), concerns about the impact it could have on their professional life (37%) and not having enough time (37%).

The MDU’s research follows the publication of the GMC’s new guidance on 'Using social media as a medical professional' earlier this year. While social media can be a great tool for medical professionals to connect with others, the GMC emphasise that doctors' conduct should justify patients' trust in them and the public's trust in the profession.

Dr Catherine Wills, MDU deputy head of advisory services, said:

"It is unsurprising that so many doctors engage in social media; social media platforms have become woven into the fabric of many people’s lives.

"However, doctors aren’t like regular members of the online community, they can be held accountable by the GMC for things they post, like or share. Consequently, it’s important for medical professionals to 'think before they post' and to always remain professional and maintain patient confidentiality."

This page was correct at publication on 24/04/2024. 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.