Blogs

Sexual Harassment Warning

06 Dec 2017

Nerissa Ferrie

by Ms Nerissa Ferrie

Young male doctor with adoring looking female patient

A recent article highlights the need for doctors and practice staff to remain on the lookout for sexually inappropriate patients.

The AMA Victoria issued two warnings – one in March and a second in December – for female GPs in Melbourne’s northern suburbs to exercise caution following reports of a convicted sexual offender behaving inappropriately.

Patients who behave in a sexually inappropriate manner can leave doctors feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable. In our experience, male doctors tend to be the subject of prolonged, stalking-type behaviours, whereas female doctors appear more likely to experience one-off, sexually motivated attendances.

When doctors call the medico-legal advice line to disclose sexual harassment by a patient, they often react with disbelief and shock that they have been the subject of such behaviour.

If you are ever the subject of sexual harassment by a patient, contact your MDO for advice. You should never be subject to this sort of behaviour in the work place, and we can assist you to end the doctor-patient relationship. If you would like to review safety in your practice, the RACGP’s A safe place is an excellent resource and provides some practical advice on the prevention and management of risk.

 

This blog contains general information only. We recommend you contact your medical defence organisation or insurer when you require specific advice in relation to medico-legal matters.

 

Library

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Dr Nick Coatsworth is an expert in health policy, public administration and a practising infectious diseases physician. He held a national role in the Australian response to COVID-19 as Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Australia, becoming one of the most recognised medical spokespeople during the pandemic. Nick engaged the Australian community through a variety of media platforms most notably as the spearhead of the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Dr Micheal Gannon, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, sits down with Dr Nick Coatsworth to discuss Nick's medical career journey, and what insights and advice he has for junior doctors. MDA National would like to acknowledge the contributions of MDA National staff, Members, friends and colleagues in the production of the podcast and note that this work is copyright. Apart from any use permitted under applicable copyright law, you may not reproduce the content of this podcast without the permission of MDA National. This podcast contains generic information only, is intended to stimulate thought and discussion, and doesn’t account for requirements of any particular individual. The content may contain opinions which are not necessarily those of MDA National. We recommend that you always contact your indemnity provider when you require specific advice in relation to your insurance policy or medico-legal matters. MDA National Members need to contact us for specific medico-legal advice on freecall 1800 011 255 or email advice@mdanational.com.au. We may also refer you to other professional services.

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