Sexual misconduct between a GP and a patient

Background 

Dr O’Neill is a GP. Ben has been a patient at the GP practice for several years. Ben has consulted with Dr O’Neill on multiple occasions and has grown very fond of him.  

Scenario

Dr O’Neill accepts Ben’s friend request on Facebook, prompting Ben to send him a message. Ben mentions he has feelings for him and asks if he would like to meet up. They meet in a café and continue to contact and meet up with each other. 

Due to their relationship, they agree that Ben should consult with a different GP in future. Ben attends his next GP appointment with Dr Hamid, who orders a blood test. Ben feels worried, so he also contacts Dr O’Neill and asks for his advice. Dr O’Neill decides to check Ben’s result himself and he reassures Ben the test result is normal.

Ben books a further appointment with Dr Hamid due to persistent low mood and stress. During his consultation, he discusses the breakdown of his marriage and recent sexual activities, including his relationship with Dr O’Neill. Ben tells Dr Hamid that he, not Dr O’Neill initiated the relationship and that it occurred when he was no longer a patient. Dr Hamid informs Ben that as a doctor she has a professional obligation to notify the GMC regarding Dr O’Neill’s conduct. 

What the doctors should have considered

Dr O’Neill:

Dr Hamid: