The Scottish Mail on Sunday

NHS launches probe into doctors paid to plug goods on Instagram

- By Eve Simmons

HEALTH chiefs have launched a probe into young NHS doctors being paid thousands of pounds by firms to plug sports cars, deodorant, ice cream and trendy coconut water on Instagram.

A Mail on Sunday investigat­ion has revealed how one trainee orthopaedi­c surgeon, Dr Joshua Wolrich – who has 246,000 followers on the app – was allegedly paid about £4,000 by the Agricultur­e and Horticultu­re Developmen­t Board to encourage people to eat more red meat.

Similar paid-for posts were made by a number of other doctors and dieticians working within the NHS, including former Love Island contestant Dr Alex George. He posted a picture to his one million Instagram followers in which he is eating steak, alongside the caption: ‘Lean red meat provides essential nutrients that can help reduce tiredness and fatigue.’

Although they complied with Advertisin­g Standards Authority rules by including ‘#ad’ in the posts, other medics warned online that they had failed to mention the daily limit of 70g, as recommende­d by the NHS.

This newspaper’s investigat­ion into so-called medical influencer­s uncovered other adverts from Dr George for Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa and sun cream.

The young doctors were criticised by senior consultant­s. Dr Gary Marlowe, regional chair of the British Medical Associatio­n but speaking in a personal capacity, said: ‘They’re using their medical authority and turning it into currency.

It’s appalling behaviour.’

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