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Dating a former patient

Boundary violations can range from the obvious – engaging in sexual activity with a patient – to other transgressions, such as relationships with someone close to a patient, peer-to-peer relationships or those with other health care practitioners.

While crossing these boundaries is not always a disciplinary matter, they may call into question your professionalism.

He commenced a sexual relationship with the mother of a patient which continued intermittently over 3 years.

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Until now, the General Medical Council has discouraged doctors from having relationships with former patients deemed vulnerable at the time they were being treated, and it continues to ban them with current patients.

For other specialty groups a relationship with a former patient may be acceptable depending on factors such as the duration of care provided to the patient, time elapsed since the end of the professional relationship and the degree of dependence and vulnerability of the patient.

Sexual activity with a person close to a patient such as carer, guardian, spouse or child of the patient, or the parent of a child patient is also unprofessional.

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"Any other basis for a relationship is flawed and needs to be criticised and resisted most vehemently.

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