Rules on doctors dating patients
He was reprimanded, and had conditions placed on his registration requiring ongoing psychiatric treatment and mentoring Interaction with patients which is not of a sexual nature can still be considered unprofessional.
What about inviting a patient to have a coffee or to go for drinks?
Each case will be decided on its particular circumstances, so a 50-year-old doctor inviting a 50-year-old patient whom he or she has known for many years to share a coffee if they meet accidentally in a shopping centre is unlikely to attract censure.
In contrast a 50-year-old practitioner inviting an 18-year-old patient to have drinks after work is likely to be considered a boundary transgression.
If you are found guilty of professional misconduct due to a boundary violation, penalties can include: Engaging in sexual activity with a patient, making sexual remarks, touching a patient in a sexual way or engaging in sexual behaviour in front of a patient are all sexual misconduct, regardless of whether the patient consents.
If another practitioner forms a “reasonable belief” that you have engaged in sexual misconduct, they must report you to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), under mandatory reporting requirements.
This can result in inadvertent encouragement of a patient’s feelings.
It is always unethical and unprofessional for a doctor to breach this trust by entering into a sexual relationship with a patient, regardless of whether the patient has consented to the relationship.
The balance of power in the professional relationship between a doctor or therapist and a patient makes a sexual relationship highly suspect and unethical.
It is the doctor or therapist’s responsibility and duty to ensure that his or her relationship with the patient remain as professional as possible.
To help her manage her condition he emailed her sound files with music he believed she liked and also pictures of art and other subjects.
In reply, the patient opened up and started to discuss her personal life (which in the GP’s rooms would probably have been fine) and asked about his family and other aspects of his personal life.