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.