The following are some guidelines as to what to expect of a professional relationship between doctor and patient:
- The doctor/patient relationships is built on trust.
- When a patient is undressing for an examination, the doctor should leave the room unless the patient needs assistance. If this is the case, another person should be present to assist the patient.
- A doctor should not use inappropriate language, such as telling jokes with sexual content, and never use racial slurs.
- When a doctor is conducting an intimate examination (such as a Pap
smear), there should be another healthcare professional present (eg a nurse). Conversations should be limited to informing the patient of what is being done
during these types of examinations or treatments.
- A doctor should listen to the patient without judging.
- A patient needs to feel respected and cared for, but this must be done on a professional level. Questions about marital status, sexual orientation, religion, and other highly sensitive areas should be avoided unless they directly relate to the medical concern.
- Sexual contact (even flirting) is unprofessional and unethical, and should be
- It is unethical for a doctor to visit with a patient outside of the healthcare setting. Obviously some doctors make house calls, but this is a professional call, and not the same as a personal visit.
- Doctors should not borrow from or loan money to patients.
- Patients who feel that a doctor has acted unethically or violated the doctor/patient relationship have the right to make a complaint to the Medical Board or AHPRA.
- A violation of the doctor/patient relationship may constitute professional misconduct resulting in sanctions against the doctor and possible deregistration.
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