Rules for doctors dating patients

The guidance, issued yesterday, tells doctors they cannot initiate ‘sexual’ or ‘improper’ relationships with current patients.But it tells them they can date former patients, as long as they give ‘careful consideration’ to certain factors.‘Although it would not be possible to specify a length of time after which it is acceptable to pursue a relationship with a former patient, it is reasonable to expect that the more recently a professional relationship ended the less likely it is to be appropriate to begin a personal relationship with the patient.’ Doctors should only start a relationship with a former patient if they have used their 'professional judgement' to decide if it is appropriate and are still banned from 'improper' relationships with current patients (file picture) Some senior GPs, however, have previously warned that such relationships are always ‘flawed’.The guidance, issued yesterday, tells doctors they still cannot initiate 'sexual' or 'improper' relationships with current patients, but says they can date former patients, as long as they give "careful consideration" to certain factors.

The AMA says: "Sexual contact that occurs concurrent with the physician-patient relationship constitutes sexual misconduct.By virtue of their education and training, doctors are armed with the knowledge of what is wrong with a patient and how to treat him/her.In such a case if a doctor becomes romantically interested in a patient, he/she may succumb to the temptation of using his/her medical knowledge to advance his/her romantic aspirations and not necessarily in a positive manner.Like the AMA, Colorado doesn't specify how long after a romantic relationship ceases a medical one might begin, stating only that they must not be "concurrent." Other states address — or do not address — this issue with varying degrees of explicitness.Mental health professionals set even stricter standards.This is the only profession of which a member can ask a person to take their clothes off and find the request usually met with few questions and no resistance." In an earlier interview with GP magazine Pulse, he said: "A proper emotional and sexual relationship is a partnership of equals, both parties enjoying the same rights, privileges and limitations.

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