News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Website forcing doctors into dubious business relationship


For immediate use

26 July 2018

Whitecoat website forcing doctors into dubious business relationship

“The Whitecoat website that rates doctors is looking more and more dubious on closer examination,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

“It seems that doctors can be added to the website without their permission and the only way they can then have any semblance of control over what appears is if they then go through a process of ‘claiming’ their profile, which the website says they might then be charged for.

“If they do claim their profile, they can then decide not to show any comments by patients – but members of the public looking at the profile will be told that they have chosen not to show comments.

“Either way, whether they are listed on the website with their permission or without it, the doctor cannot opt out of the website. They are essentially coerced into a business relationship with Whitecoat that could be potentially harmful for them professionally or personally.”

Mr Powell was commenting on the FAQs section of the website that allows patients to rate their doctors and leave comments (

ASMS has also raised concerns about the potential for unfair treatment of doctors (

“There may well be doctors who think this is a useful initiative to sign up to as part of a wider marketing plan for their practice or clinic. They should be aware, though, that once on the website, there’s apparently no getting off.”

Mr Powell also noted several concerning features about Whitecoat’s privacy policy, also on the website at

“This policy makes it clear that Whitecoat will collect whatever information they can about a doctor, from whatever source available (including past or present employers), but may not have to share that personal information with a doctor even if asked to do so.

“The true underlying intention of the website is apparent in this privacy policy as it refers to using the information it holds to, among other things, contact health care providers to promote services or products, and to help other third party service providers contact doctors.

“This website has a lot of pitfalls for doctors and other health care professionals, and we think it needs some closer scrutiny.”


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis Review: The Minstrel in The Gallery - Sam Hunt's Selected Poems

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Sam Hunt's poetry is its quality of urgent authenticity. Encountering this latest compilation, the reader is immediately struck by its easy accessibility, tonal sincerity, and lack of linguistic pretension ... More>>

A Matter Of Fact: Truth In A Post-Truth World

How do we convincingly explain the difference between good information and misinformation? And conversely, how do we challenge our own pre-conceived notions of what we believe to be true? More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: The Road To Unfreedom

Valerie Morse: Yale professor of history Tim Snyder publishes a stunning account of the mechanisms of contemporary Russian power in US and European politics. In telling this story he presents both startling alarms for our own society and some mechanisms of resistance. More>>


Doing Our Bit: An Insider's Account Of New Zealand Political Campaigning

In 2013, Murdoch Stephens began a campaign to double New Zealand’s refugee quota. Over the next five years he built the campaign into a mainstream national movement – one that contributed to the first growth in New Zealand’s refugee quota in thirty years. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland