Social media and comment moderation policy

Comments received via the NHS England website

We encourage and welcome open, lively debate, but the decision to publish comments received via this site and our YouTube channel remains at our discretion. The views expressed by any third parties are solely theirs and are not necessarily endorsed by NHS England.

Comments on all pages will be closed after 4 weeks.

Moderation Policy

We ask you to please bear in mind our guidelines when submitting comments.

Where views have been sought, all comments will be considered before the response is published.

Moderation guidelines

We pre-moderate most of the comments we receive.

‘Pre-moderation’ means that comments will not be published instantly. Comments will be checked first by moderators who will monitor the site during normal working hours (0900 – 1730, GMT) and aim to process comments as quickly as possible.

This is not about censoring your views. The aim is to ensure that comments relate to the particular subject being discussed. Moderation will not be used to suppress legitimate, reasoned discussion.

Sometimes there is a delay in publishing whilst we seek information from various sources to be included in our response to questions.

We will normally approve comments for publication as long as they:

  • are on-topic. Please don’t post messages that are not related
  • respect other people. Comments should not be malicious or offensive in nature, and should not constitute a personal attack on a person’s character
  • don’t incite hatred on the basis of race, religion, gender, nationality or sexuality or any other personal characteristic
  • don’t reveal personal details, such as private addresses, phone numbers, email addresses or other online contact details
  • are reasonably concise, and don’t constitute spamming of the site
  • don’t impersonate or falsely claim to represent a person or organisation
  • are not party political in nature. The NHS is always high on the political agenda, and whilst we acknowledge that references to political parties and their policies may often be inevitable, we reserve the right to exclude comments which are purely party-political in nature.
  • don’t include swearing, hate-speech or obscenity
  • don’t break the law – this includes libel, condoning illegal activity, and breaking copyright
  • don’t advertise commercial products and services – you can mention relevant products and services as long as they support your comment
  • are in English – unfortunately, we do not currently have the resource to moderate comments in other languages
  • if you are aged 16 or under, please get you parent/guardian’s permission before submitting a comment. Users without this consent are not allowed to participate or provide us with personal information.

We reserve the right to suspend comments at any time, and remove comments older than six months. Where we choose not to publish a comment for a reason other than those listed above, we will reply to the commenter by email explaining our reason and inviting them to make appropriate changes so that the comment can be reconsidered.

We read every comment, and respond wherever we can.

Twitter

NHS England uses Twitter, a free messaging service offered by a third party, as one tool in its efforts to communicate clearly, quickly and in an engaging manner to people interested in our work. You can follow us @NHSEngland

Twitter content delivered by NHS England includes (but is not limited to):

  • links to news releases, blog posts, videos, guidance and other approved, publicly available NHS England material
  • links to relevant information produced and published elsewhere (work of other NHS organisations, patient organisations, researchers, news organisations and others). This can include videos, blog posts, and retweets (RTs) from other Twitter users. (See below for our policy on RTs.)
  • interesting facts, quotes or observations related to our work
  • topical questions related to our work intended to provoke discussion

Retweets (RTs)

Tweets we repeat (RT) do not imply endorsement on the part of NHS England. We may retweet news, links and personal observations we believe are relevant to the work we do.

Twitter as a source of official policy

Tweets should not be considered as the authoritative source of new policy or guidance from NHS England. Any change or evolution in NHS England’s official position on legislation, guidance, investigations and audits will be communicated through more traditional channels: official publications and statements on our website, speeches, and media releases.

Importantly, our decision to RT should not be taken as explicit endorsement of any position or argument that may vary from NHS England’s current official position, nor should it be taken as an indication of a possible shift in the current official position.

Following

NHS England’s decision to follow a particular Twitter user does not imply endorsement of any kind. We follow accounts on Twitter we believe are relevant to our work. This could include following the Twitter accounts of companies and other commercial enterprises (and/or their employees) who comment on NHS England related issues.

Availability

We commit to updating and monitoring our Twitter account during regular office hours: 0900 – 1730, GMT. However, like many Twitter users, we may monitor and respond at other times of the day. We accept no responsibility for lack of service due to Twitter downtime.

@Replies and Direct Messages

We will read all @replies and Direct Messages sent to us and, when possible, will respond to them.

Complaints, Media Requests and Personal Issues

We encourage you to follow traditional channels to make a media request, freedom of information (FOI) request or complaint. See details of other ways to contact us.

NHS England Staff Tweeting

Some NHS England staff tweet under their own names or pseudonyms. Despite their professional affiliation with NHS England, their tweets do not represent the official position of the Board, and should be considered the product of each individual as a private citizen.

If you have questions about this policy, please contact nhscb.web@nhs.net