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An unwarranted physical examination may constitute sexual assault.This includes conducting or allowing others, such as students, to conduct examinations on anaesthetised patients, when the patient has not given explicit consent for the examination.The start of a sexual relationship between a doctor and a patient may not always be immediately obvious to either the doctor or patient.Doctors need to be alert to warning signs that could indicate that boundaries are being, or are about to be crossed.
This includes those close to the patient such as their carer, guardian or spouse or the parent of a child patient.
It can cause profound psychological harm to patients and compromise their medical care.
Good, clear communication is the most effective way to avoid misunderstandings in the doctor-patient relationship.
Sexual misconduct is a serious abuse of that trust.
Patients have a right to feel safe when they are consulting a doctor.
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Doctors who breach these guidelines are placing their registration at risk and in some cases could be committing a criminal offence.