'Half of GPs want freedom to have sex with patients'

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'Half of GPs want freedom to have sex with patients'

Post by Guest on Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:38 pm

Half of GPs think it is acceptable to have a sexual relationship with a patient as long as they move to another doctor’s practice, a survey has found.

Many doctors feel there is nothing morally wrong with forming a relationship with a patient Photo: GETTY IMAGES

One in six family doctors say in some cases it may even be appropriate to have an affair with one of their own patients.

The poll carried out by trade magazine Pulse suggests that many medics want to relax the strict ethical rules on sleeping with those in their care.

Dr Tony Grewal, a GP in London, said: “An absolute ban on sexual relationships with patients or former patients is an unfair limitation on the right to pursue happiness for doctors and patients alike. We need new, authoritative public guidance which acknowledges the changes of the last 20 years, maintains the necessary safeguards for the vulnerable against exploitation or coercion, but gives a framework for those who wish to develop proper relationships.”

Current guidance from the General Medical Council states: “In order to maintain professional boundaries, and the trust of patients and the public, you must not establish or pursue a sexual or improper emotional relationship with a patient.”

Doctors are also told not to use home visits as a way to meet patients’ relatives, and are only allowed to start seeing ex-patients after meeting them socially. If the former patient was vulnerable because of mental health problems of a “lack of maturity” then any relationship is forbidden.

Despite these rules, more doctors were struck off the medical register in 2009 for having an improper relationship than for any other reason, accounting for 15 of the 83 cases.

In one case heard by the regulator last year, Stephen Carr-Bains was suspended from medical practice for a year after getting a patient pregnant and arranging for her to have an abortion.

The poll of 282 GPs carried out by Pulse suggests that many doctors feel there is nothing morally wrong with forming a relationship with a patient, particularly if they register with another surgery.

In total 48 per cent questioned said they would support a GP’s decision to enter into a sexual relationship with a patient as long as they started going elsewhere for medical care. Twenty-eight per cent said they would not support such a decision while the remaining 24 were unsure.

In addition, 16 per cent said there were circumstances where it would be appropriate for a GP to have an affair with a patient on their own practice’s list, although 78 per cent said they disagreed.

Seven respondents – 2 per cent – admitted to having had an affair with a patient but 97 per cent said they had never done so.


My concern would be around vulnerable patients. This is not solved by a patient simply moving practice, by the time this point has been reached, the GP's position of trust could have already been abused Sad


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