The Medical Council has approved the establishment of a WhatsApp group for its members.
According to minutes of a Council meeting earlier this year, it was proposed to create a WhatsApp group for members “to assist in prompt administrative communications to Council” such as meeting dates and alerts regarding meeting briefs becoming available, etc.
“A draft policy and consent form was presented to Council for administrative use of such messaging. It was noted that any member could choose to opt into such a group, without any obligation whatsoever and all formal written notifications would travel by email as per usual practice,” according to the minutes.
A Council spokesperson told the Medical Independent the purpose of the group is to communicate information to members, such as when a Council brief has been made available via a secure connection.
“It is not always feasible for Council members to check their emails for the purposes of Council business so it was envisioned that a notification via WhatsApp would be of benefit,” outlined the spokesperson.
“A memorandum was circulated to Council members in advance of the setup of the group and a consent form was signed by members who wished to sign up. Joining the group was not mandatory but was on an opt-in basis. Any information held in relation to Council members is treated in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Acts 1988–2018. No sensitive information is shared through WhatsApp.”
In May, WhatsApp was the centre of controversy after it advised users to update their software, following the discovery of a previously unknown weakness that could allow devices to be hacked.
WhatsApp says its end-to-end encryption ensures only users and the person/s with whom they are communicating can read what is sent.