A Wigan GP is battling the tide of online ‘fake news’ about medical conditions by going digital and posting informative and engaging videos of his own on YouTube.

Dr Derek Adu-Sarkodie, who is also Wigan clinical lead for workforce and education, created his channel, Adu Med during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was while he was teaching trainee GPs, that he realised his patients could also benefit from his short, informative videos.

He said: “There is lot of misinformation out there. I’ve had patients saying, ‘I didn’t take this medication because I saw a TikTok video. I realised I needed to create content that would help my patients. I am all about explaining complex concepts in a really simple way, so my videos are just five to six minutes long.”

On average, GPs have about 10 minutes per patient, so Dr Derek (as he likes to be called) consults with his patient and instead of handing them a leaflet to read more information, he sends his patient a link to the appropriate video. They can then watch him online and better understand their condition. He has made more than 80 videos over the last two years, covering a wide range of conditions including liver failure, migraine and bowel cancer.

“I made the video on bowel cancer because lots of patients in our practice had potential symptoms,’ he said. “But since their screening samples had been negative, they didn’t believe that they could still, potentially, have bowel cancer.

“That video has had nearly 250k views on YouTube. It has had such an impact, so many more people are coming to see us with the symptoms, which is the right thing to do. Treating bowel cancer early means a more successful outcome.”

Dr Derek has now been invited to be part of YouTube Health and has been to Google’s UK offices in London to give talks about his channel. Recently he was a guest at the House of Lords, as part of a select group of medical content creators.

His latest video is on prostate cancer. It is specifically aimed at the black population which also has the highest death rates from prostate cancer.

He said: “You need to get the messaging just right and then if someone sees it, you get more of that demographic coming in and being checked. The risk of prostate cancer rises as you get older, and most cases are diagnosed in men over 50 years of age.”


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