GPs warned Christmas gifts could fall foul of Bribery Act

GPs could fall foul of the Bribery Act by accepting Christmas gifts from patients, the MDDUS (the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland) has warned.

Dr Jim Rodger: ‘A doctor should consider whether that by accepting a gift, they are altering their relationship with a patient and encouraging favouritism'
Dr Jim Rodger: ‘A doctor should consider whether that by accepting a gift, they are altering their relationship with a patient and encouraging favouritism'

To ensure doctors are safeguarded under the Bribery Act 2011, medical defence organisation MDDUS has advised GP practices to ensure they have a policy on accepting Christmas gifts.

The organisation has also recommended that practices keep a gift register, especially for items with an individual value of more than £100, which could be made available to the primary care organisation on request.

The Bribery Act 2011 makes it a criminal offence to offer financial or other advantages with the intention of inducing a person to perform an 'action improperly'.

It is also illegal for clinicians to request, agree to receive, or accept an inducement.

The MDDUS said: ‘In many cases it may be entirely appropriate to accept a small token or recognition of gratitude, but there are times when a gift can represent something more.'

MDDUS head of professional services Dr Jim Rodger said: ‘A doctor should consider whether that by accepting a gift, they are altering their relationship with a patient and encouraging favouritism.

‘You must consider whether accepting a gift could be seen to influence your decision making or affect your professional judgment. You should make it clear to any gift-giver that their gesture will not have any impact on the care you provide.’

Dr Rodger reminded GPs that while facing charges under the Bribery Act was unlikely, the main risk lay in falling foul of GMC guidelines.

GMC guidance in Good Medical Practice warns doctors that patient gifts may affect, or be seen to affect, the treatment they give.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Viewpoint: Why NICE guidance on domestic abuse needs to be updated

Viewpoint: Why NICE guidance on domestic abuse needs to be updated

Dr Vasumathy Sivarajasingam explains why screening for domestic abuse should be standard...

PCNs opt out of phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccination programme over workload pressure

PCNs opt out of phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccination programme over workload pressure

Some PCNs have opted out of phase 2 of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, with others...

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...

CVT risk from COVID-19 infection 'significantly higher' than from vaccines, study suggests

CVT risk from COVID-19 infection 'significantly higher' than from vaccines, study suggests

The risk of cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) following COVID-19 infection is eight...

‘Warm and kind’ retired Derbyshire GP dies from COVID-19

‘Warm and kind’ retired Derbyshire GP dies from COVID-19

Retired Derbyshire GP Dr Om Prakash Chawla, who was known for his warmth and kindness,...

GPs can learn from pandemic to strengthen relationship with patients, says RCGP chair

GPs can learn from pandemic to strengthen relationship with patients, says RCGP chair

General practice can build on changes to care during the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen...