14 December 2010
Q. I have found a particularly negative review about my practice on a website which invites patients to post their comments and experiences. Can I ask for the text to be removed?
If the comment is not particularly insulting or defamatory, it simply remains the opinion of a particular individual and there is no way of testing its veracity.
You are unlikely to be able to get the review removed because the website will state that this is simply one person’s view, which they are entitled to make public. Indeed anybody can post a review; positive as well as negative opinions. You might want to consider suggesting to some of your patients that they might like to visit this website and post a more complimentary review, particularly if they have been satisfied with your treatment.
Opinion-based websites such as this and those like it, such as www.tripadvisor.co.uk, www.localmole.co.uk and www.doctoroogle.com exist to provide an opportunity for members of the public to post comments, good or otherwise, but it must always be remembered at all times that the review has been made as a personal observation and unless the statement is libellous it is best not to give it the oxygen of additional publicity.
The GDC intends to publish new guidance on ethical advertising which will then appear on their website