Patient dating their doctor

They should adopt a more formal and professional manner and make sure they focus on medical issues during the consultation.

In situations where a patient behaves amorously, doctors also need to be aware of their own feelings.

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.

The GMC takes a dim view of relationships with current patients.

Its advice to doctors says that “you must not pursue a sexual or improper emotional relationship with a current patient.” Advising the patient to seek care elsewhere is not a solution.

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.

But why do the GMC and the media take such an interest in a relationship between two apparently consenting adults?

The answer lies in the unique nature of the doctor-patient relationship and the power imbalance in that relationship.

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.

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