GPs receive more gifts from patients than consultants do

GPs receive more gifts from patients than any other doctors, according to a survey by the Medical Defence Union.

The survey found that GPs were more likely than their hospital-based colleagues to receive gifts ranging from chocolates or flowers, to artwork and vintage champagne.

Dr Catherine Wills, an MDU legal adviser, warned that gifts could be misconstrued and provoke complaints.

‘If in doubt, it may be necessary to look a gift horse in the mouth,' she said. ‘Our members are advised to ask themselves if it could appear that the item has influenced their decision-making in any way and be prepared to demonstrate it has not.'

The contract requires GPs to keep a register of all gifts worth over £100. But the MDA advises doctors to also keep records of smaller gifts, in order to avoid future criticism.

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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