The Scottish Mail on Sunday
NHS launches probe into doctors paid to plug goods on Instagram
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.’