New Guidelines on Sexual Boundaries in the Doctor and Patient Relationship

The Australian Medical Board released their new, revised guidelines for all Australian medical practitioners. At Tego, we want to make medical practitioners aware of the revised guidelines as they are relevant to the way your practice may be managed. It is important to review your medical indemnity insurance to determine the scope of cover in these circumstances. 

We all know that sexual misconduct is an abuse of the doctor and patient relationship and can cause lasting and significant harm to patients, as well result in the suspension of a medical practitioner and possibly criminal charges. 

As medical practice insurance providers we care

“The revised guidelines say that the foundation of the doctor – patient relationship is trust, and note that good, clear communication is the most effective way to avoid misunderstandings in the doctor–patient relationship.”

In our years of protecting medical doctors, we have found that some complaints of this nature may be caused by the lack of communication and misunderstandings between the doctor and the patient, especially as to the nature and purpose of a physical examination.

In that regard, here are some important changes in the new guidelines:

  • If medical students are present during a consultation or an examination, patient consent is required. 
  • Never allow others, such as students, to perform examinations on anaesthetised patients, when that patient has not consented explicitly.

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Medical indemnity insurance is mandatory

In Australia, medical indemnity insurance is mandatory for all medical practitioners working in private practice. It is essential in protecting you against any misunderstandings or issues surrounding sexual boundaries.  From midwives and nurses, to osteopaths and dentists,  It’s important to understand the scope of your medical indemnity insurance and to what extent it will cover you in the event of a patient complaint around alleged boundary transgressions.

Medical Indemnity Insurance in Australia

Tego has developed an all encompassing suite of specialist indemnity solutions for the healthcare sector, to protect medical practitioners and medical practices ensuring you are protected and your practice runs safer and more efficient. With Tego as your partner, you will be able to focus more on what you are most proud of – providing quality and dedicated patient care.

In conclusion

If you have any questions about these new guidelines, please do not hesitate to contact your medical indemnity insurer or your insurance advisor. We offer medical indemnity insurance for medical practitioners.

We have a profound understanding of the Australian medical profession and the ever-changing healthcare industry. It’s this expertise that allows us to provide leading cover with more choice, innovation and greater flexibility. Contact us to find out more.

 All content on this page has been written in a generic way, and has not been presented with any knowledge of your personal objectives or financial needs. 

This publication is general in nature and is not comprehensive or constitute legal or medical advice. You should seek legal, medical or other professional advice before relying on any content, and practice proper clinical decision making with regard to individual circumstances. Persons implementing any recommendations contained in this publication must exercise their own independent skill or judgment or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular practice. Compliance with any recommendations will not in any way guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact with the health professional or practice. Tego Insurance Pty Ltd is not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss su­ffered in connection with the use of this information.