Maintaining personal and professional boundaries

Annex -  Extracts from Good medical practice

57

You must not act in a sexual way towards colleagues with the effect or purpose of causing offence, embarrassment, humiliation or distress. What we mean by acting ‘in a sexual way’ can include – but isn’t limited to – verbal or written comments, displaying or sharing images, as well as unwelcome physical contact. You must follow our more detailed guidance on Maintaining personal and professional boundaries.

58

If you witness any of the behaviours described in paragraphs 56 or 57 you should act, taking account of the specific circumstances. For example, you could:

  1. check in and offer support to anyone targeted or affected by the behaviour, and/or let them know that you feel that the behaviour you witnessed is unacceptable 
  2. challenge the behaviour by speaking to the person responsible – either at the time, if safe to do so, or at an appropriate time and place
  3. speak to a colleague and/or consider reporting the behaviour in line with your workplace policy and our more detailed guidance on Raising and acting on concerns about patient safety. Before you report the behaviour you witnessed, try and make sure that the person who was targeted is aware of, and supports, your intention to report it.

We recognise some people may find it harder than others to speak up4  but everyone has a responsibility – to themselves and their colleagues – to do something to prevent these behaviours continuing and contributing to a negative, unsafe environment.

4

See our ethical hub advice on Speaking up.

75c. If you have concerns that a colleague may not be fit to practise and may be putting patients at risk, you must ask for advice from a colleague, your defence body, or us. If you are still concerned, you must report this, in line with your workplace policy and our more detailed guidance on Raising and acting on concerns about patient safety.

86

You must not act in a sexual way towards patients or use your professional position to pursue a sexual or improper emotional relationship with a patient or someone close to them. You must follow our more detailed guidance on Maintaining personal and professional boundaries.