Working with doctors Working for patients

 

Introduction

Marlena has just had her final session with the psychiatrist when she bumps into Dr Gallagher in the hospital corridor.

(The story so far...)

Several months ago, Dr Gallagher saw Marlena Cieslak at A&E. She had been the victim of domestic violence and was suffering from depression. Marlena's GP referred her to a psychiatrist who suggested a short course of counselling. Marlena has just had her final session with the psychiatrist when she bumps into Dr Gallagher in the hospital corridor.

Marlena

Marlena

Dr Gallagher - hello! It's me, Marlena Cieslak. You fixed my arm in February - do you remember?

Dr Gallagher

Dr Gallagher

Miss Cieslak yes of course! How are you?

Marlena

Marlena

Marlena, please. I'm very well thank you - wonderful in fact! I've really turned my life around. I left my boyfriend, moved out, I've even found a job - I'm working for this great Spanish restaurant chain, really fantastic food. I swear that night in A&E was the turning point - I really can't thank you enough for helping me.

Dr Gallagher

Dr Gallagher

Oh not at all, Miss Cieslak. I was only doing my job...

Marlena

Marlena

Oh no wait, I'll give you my card- you could come to one of the restaurants for a meal some time, on the house. In fact if you can go on a Tuesday I could join you - that's my night off. It's the very least I could do after all you've done for me. Please say you will?

What should the doctor do...? (Select A,B or C)

A

Agree to go for a meal as he's no longer her doctor and their one-off consultation was four months ago?

B

Say that it wouldn't be appropriate since she has - literally - only just finished counselling, but perhaps some time in the future?

C

Thank her but say it would be against his professional code to accept anything, even from a former patient?

Dr Gallagher

See what the doctor did

Dr Gallagher thanked Marlena for her offer but, feeling it would be inappropriate under the circumstances (she had only just finished counselling and was still likely to be vulnerable) he declined, saying that he was unable to accept gifts even from former patients. He told her how glad he was that she was doing so well, and went back to work, wishing her all the best for the future.

References

You must make sure that your conduct justifies your patients' trust in you and the public's trust in the profession.
(Good Medical Practice, paragraph 65)

You must not ask for or accept - from patients, colleagues or others - any inducement, gift or hospitality that may affect or be seen to affect the way you prescribe for, treat or refer patients or commission services for patients.
(Good Medical Practice, paragraph 80)