Locum supported during investigation of social media videos
Locum optometrist, Ahmed’s story
Ahmed (not his real name) posted videos on the social media platform, TikTok, as a recreational activity. The videos were satirical and featured skits of optometrists with patients which included content that portrayed the patient as being at the heart of a joke. Ahmed began to gain followers on TikTok account which he also used to post public optometry related tutorials aimed at students. Ahmed’s aim was to highlight unusual and interesting things in optometry. However a member of the public made a complaint to the GOC regarding three of his TikTok videos, which they regarded as inappropriate and unprofessional.
How we helped
When Ahmed received the letter from the GOC, he contacted the AOP for assistance. He was assigned an AOP legal adviser who reviewed all his TikTok and Instagram videos and posts and advised him to immediately take down the videos on TikTok. We helped Ahmed to build a programme of CPD courses he could take, to help him reflect on why some of the videos were unprofessional and could undermine the public’s confidence in the profession.
We also advised Ahmed to undertake a safeguarding course for Optometrists, and to avoid social media whilst the investigation was on going.
We worked with him to draft his case representations to be presented to the GOC, explaining his side of the story and the insight he has developed through the education he had undertaken since the investigation had begun, which had helped him to understand that the public’s trust and perception of the profession could be damaged by videos of an optometrist mocking patients, even in jest. Ahmed was remorseful for his actions and this was also expressed in his representations. Ahmed’s Legal Adviser also obtained references from students who had found Ahmed’s Instagram page to be helpful and educative.
Fortunately, Ahmed’s case did not progress to a hearing. He received a warning from the GOC which will remain on his register entry for four years. From a legal perspective, this was a good result as when the case was first brought to the AOP’s attention, Ahmed was a real risk of being referred to a Fitness to Practise Hearing before the General Optical Council. Ahmed was very happy with the result.