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"Doctors who discover that a person with whom they are developing a personal or sexual relationship is also their patient should immediately cease the relationship or take reasonable steps to ensure that medical care is provided by another practitioner," it says.The BMA spokeswoman added: "We would be very concerned if the GMC ruled out completely any relationship between a doctor and an ex-patient. It is unethical for any kind of doctor to date their patient as their is a power differential between the two people.
Currently, it strongly advises doctors against dating patients.
"Should I be in a position where I was looking for a partner, a vast proportion of the local population would be people who at one time or another have been 'my patient' however tenuously or briefly." Many of the respondents said it was hard to generalise and that each case should be judged individually.
Some criticised the guidance for not being precise enough.
"The advice that there should never be a sexual relationship with an ex-patient would mean that a doctor who develops a relationship with an ex-patient, who is also a social contact, can never marry or consummate the relationship even if the new partner leaves his or her list.
"Illustrative examples of what is appropriate and what isn't would help here," said a spokeswoman.