Registrars urged to beware of the 'amorous advance'

GP registrars should consider self-defence training and must beware of 'amorous advances' from patients seeking to manipulate them, the Medical Protection Society (MPS) has warned.

The latest edition of GP Registrar, an MPS newsletter, also urges young doctors to avoid labelling difficult patients as 'heartsinks'.

Using the term, which describes a patient whose arrival literally makes the doctor's heart sink, is offensive and can 'blind clinical judgment', the newsletter warns.

Pigeon-holing a patient can 'lead you to miss something important in their presentation', the newsletter warns.

The most common form of difficult patient is one who makes 'frequent visits with seemingly unlimited needs', it says.

But patients can also be manipulative, perhaps through flattery or making an 'amorous advance', the newsletter says. Doctors are warned that unwanted and sustained approaches can constitute harassment and should be discussed with colleagues.

In case of an encounter with a violent patient, new GPs are told to consider self-defence training, and to remember to keep potential weapons such as scissors or scalpels out of sight during consultations.

nick.bostock@haymarket.com

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