Rules on doctors dating patients
Dr Surendra Kumar, a GP who practises in Widnes, Cheshire, said: "Consider the powers of the doctor.
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.
The updated guidelines outlined in the doctors' handbook Good Medical Practice, and which come into force next month, state: "If you are considering whether to pursue a personal relationship with a former patient, you must use your professional judgment.
"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." Patient groups welcomed the change, saying it was about time the watchdog moved into "the 21st century".
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"I think it was all a bit of an old fashioned idea quite honestly. "They are getting into the 21st century and it's a good updating." Some senior GPs, however, have previously warned that such relationships are always problematic.
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For most physicians, the establishment of good rapport with a patient is important.
Some medical specialties, such as psychiatry and family medicine, emphasize the physician–patient relationship more than others, such as pathology or radiology.