Code ethics doctors dating patients
The figures, which BMJ Careers obtained through a freedom of information request to the GMC, showed that the majority (91%) of these complaints concerned male doctors.
Doctors who enter into a personal relationship with a patient put their registration at risk and can also expect a high level of media interest should the matter become public.
GMC advice to doctors whose patient has pursued a sexual or improper emotional relationship is that they “should treat them politely and considerately and try to re-establish a professional boundary.” The GMC acknowledges that it may be necessary to end the professional relationship if trust has broken down.
Matthew Large, a psychiatrist in Sydney, says that doctors may feel flattered, but they should be aware that it is not necessarily a sign of their own personal qualities or attractiveness.Professional boundaries are an essential part of the doctor-patient relationship, but they are sometimes crossed by both doctors and patients.In 2013-14 the General Medical Council (GMC) investigated 93 complaints against 90 doctors who were alleged to have had an inappropriate relationship or made inappropriate advances towards a patient.A key part of maintaining that trust is the professional boundary that exists between doctors and their patients.The Royal College of Psychiatrists says that boundaries are there to keep both doctor and patient safe, but these boundaries may be crossed or violated. Crossing the professional boundary—for example, a hug after a bereavement—may be beneficial to a patient.