You probably wouldn’t expect this question to arise, but there have been situations where doctors have approached the MDU for advice about whether it’s OK to date a patient or not. writing, Understand that it is perfectly normal to feel angry or upset This guidance came into effect 22 April 2013. with patients which is not of a sexual nature can still be considered misconduct due to a boundary violation, penalties can include: Engaging in sexual activity with a patient, making You should seek legal or other professional advice before relying on any content, and practise proper clinical decision making with regard to the individual circumstances. Develop skills in saying ‘no’ whilst maintaining compassion and rapport. You Private health insurance products are issued by The Doctors’ Health Fund Pty Limited, ABN 68 001 417 527, a member of the Avant Mutual Group. The Medical Board of Australia’s (the Board’s) submission highlighted the Sexual Boundaries: Guidelines for Doctors (guidelines updated 12 December 2018), which states, “It may be unprofessional for a doctor to enter into a sexual relationship with a former patient, if this … This can result in inadvertent encouragement of a Download our factsheet, Unhealthy relationships with patients. Dr U was a paediatrician in Private Practice. Avant Cyber Insurance cover is available between 20/9/2019 and 20/03/2021 to eligible Avant Practice Medical Indemnity Policy holders under a Group Policy between Liberty Mutual Insurance Company ABN 61 086 083 605 (Liberty) and Avant. Avant Travel Cover is underwritten by QBE and Avant may receive a benefit for arranging cover. Some medical details are also obtained from the patient which can be helpful to the doctor for treatment. alleging sexual misconduct or breach of a boundary issue, do: Your first instinct may be to contact the patient to ‘sort things out’, The patient then attended the Emergency Department and asked Dr A if he could recommend a specialist for her. When considering these type of allegations the Board will take into account: The Board noted a previous decision in which the New South Wales Medical Board had spoken of the absolute rule that a medical practitioner who engages in sexual activity with a current patient is guilty of professional misconduct. discontinue the complaint or to take any reprisal action. The medical community requires that doctors and patients wait at least a year after terminating the doctor/patient relationship before entering into … And, you must always maintain professional boundaries if you choose contrition and had taken positive steps to address the issues which allowed the The Board and regulators are strongly of the view it is unethical and unprofessional for a doctor to have a sexual relationship with a patient, regardless of whether the patient has consented to the relationship. Early access to super for medical procedures. sessions to discuss the impact of his relationship on the families and to Of course, patients may develop a crush on their doctors, or therapists, but to date a patient, would … Although the doctor in this case was not an Avant member, our experience is the regulators universally consider it unethical and unprofessional for a doctor to have a sexual relationship with a patient, regardless of whether the patient has consented to the relationship. Section 1.4 of Good medical practice: A code of conduct for doctors in Australia (the Code) states: ‘Doctors have a duty to make the care of patients their first concern and to practise medicine safely and effectively. However once the professional relationships has ceased completely and a considerable time period has elapsed, it may be possible for a doctor and a former patient to date each other provided the new relationship is equal and emotionally healthy. Avant Life Insurance products are issued by NobleOak Life Limited ABN 85 087 648 708 AFS Licence Number 247302 (NobleOak). All general insurance is issued by Avant. Doctors are usually intelligent and committed to their patients. Each case will be decided on its particular circumstances, so a Interaction Many doctors are very empathetic, and have a true passion for what they do. They must be ethical and trustworthy. many years to share a coffee if they meet accidentally in a shopping centre is Any therapist who denies having ever been tempted is either lying or is simply deluded. A few days later, she texted Dr A to apologise for disclosing their sexual relationship to Dr B. Private health insurance products are issued by The Doctors’ Health Fund Pty Limited, ABN 68 001 417 527, a member of the Avant Mutual Group. Avant Travel Cover is available under a Group Policy between QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited, ABN 78 003 191 035, AFSL 239 545 (QBE) and Avant Mutual. 55 There are a number of relevant Australian cases concerning relationships between medical practitioners and former patients. In reply, the patient opened up and IMPORTANT: Professional indemnity insurance and the Practice Medical Indemnity Policy available from Avant Mutual Group Limited ABN 58 123 154 898 (Avant Mutual) are issued by Avant Insurance Limited, ABN 82 003 707 471, AFSL 238 765 (Avant). professional misconduct.The doctor took steps to address the issues that led to If you are found guilty of professional report you to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), took steps in his practice to avoid a recurrence – such as being more clinical Dr A was also ordered to complete an education program including a reflective practice report around maintaining professional boundaries and ethical decision-making. 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