Social and Sexual Contact Between General Practitioners and Patients in New Zealand: Attitudes and Prevalence
Coverdale, John H.
Thomson, Alex N.
White, Gillian E.
British Journal of General Practice. 1995 May; 45(394): 245-247.
BACKGROUND. Doctor-patient social and sexual contact is increasingly acknowledged as an issue of importance for the medical profession. However, there is little research concerning general practitioners on this topic. AIM. A study was undertaken to obtain data on social and sexual contact between general practitioners and their patients. METHOD. An anonymous questionnaire was mailed to a nationwide randomized sample of 217 general practitioners in New Zealand. RESULTS. A response rate of 86% was obtained. Dating and sexual contact with patients was considered to be sometimes or usually acceptable to 35% and 10% of general practitioners, respectively. Of respondents, 6% reported having dated a patient, 4% reported having had sexual contact with a patient at some point during their career and 2% reported having engaged in sexual contact with a former patient. General practitioners who had personally known of a colleague who had engaged in sexual contact with a patient were more likely to believe this behaviour had negative consequences than general practitioners who themselves reported having engaged in sexual contact with a patient. CONCLUSION. The study results have implications for developing behavioural guidelines and educational interventions for general practitioners.
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