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Quarter of pharmacists have social media regrets

Twenty-eight per cent of readers say they have regretted something they posted online, a week after pharmacy organisations called for responsible use of social media


More than a quarter of pharmacists have written something they regretted on social media, a C+D poll has suggested.

Twenty-eight per cent of 104 readers who took part in the poll, which ran from April 21 to April 28, said they were unhappy with something they had posted online.

C+D ran the poll in response to sector leaders last week urging pharmacists to “think carefully” when using social media, after pharmacist Charles Shanks referred to a patient as a “retard” on Facebook.

Mr Shanks, superintendent at  Calder Pharmacy in Edinburgh, wrote the Facebook post after the patient – Mr Shanks alleged – used the same website to complain that staff were “not doing [their] jobs properly”.

Mr Shanks explained in his Facebook post that the pharmacy had not been able to dispense the patient’s medication because of stock shortages.

A difficult situation

Readers posting on the C+D website said they appreciated that Mr Shanks was placed in a difficult situation, but emphasised the importance of using social media responsibly.

Community pharmacist Dilip Chauhan said he empathised with “the frustrated desire to kick a box in the stock room”. But Mr Chauhan said he could “not sympathise with putting egg on your own face”. “Whatever you commit to paper or e-media can and may be used against you,” he added.

Community pharmacist Clive Hodgson agreed that posting “on such a public forum” had been “very ill-advised”. But he also understood how the daily stresses of working in a pharmacy could “build up to exploding point”, he added.

A Locum pharmacist posting as K Brow said comments such as those made by Mr Shanks’ were “perhaps the number one way to destroy your business”. “Where is your common sense?” they said.

However, superintendent pharmacist Max Falconer said he believed Mr Shanks “had the right to make a comment he felt was appropriate”, because he had not named the patient. “If free speech still exists, it must encompass the right to say things others may find offensive, otherwise it is meaningless,” he said.

Read Numark’s social media dos and don’ts here.


How do you decide what to post on social media?

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