Healthcare regulators take a particularly serious view of breaching professional boundaries. What are personal boundaries and how to avoid the pitfalls.
The nature of the patient/carer relationship is such that healthcare professionals are in a position of trust with patients often vulnerable either physically or mentally.
There is no defined definition of professional boundaries but generally speaking, professional boundaries are the legal, ethical and regulatory limits to the healthcare professional/patient relationship that maintains trust, patient safety and protection and public confidence in the profession.
Although most often associated with improper emotional relationships or allegations of sexual impropriety, breaching professional boundaries can also encompass expressions of personal beliefs, financial conflicts of interest, and physical harm.
Breaching professional boundaries often occur, or arise, during the course of practice, but not exclusively so.
As such, health and care professionals must remember that fitness to practise is not limited to just professional or clinical performance. The conduct of a health and care professional outside of their working environment may involve fitness to practise where it could affect the protection of the public or undermine public confidence in the profession.
Health and care professionals found to have breached professional boundaries are likely to face allegations of impaired fitness to practise through misconduct. It is strongly advised that under these circumstances, you seek expert legal advice at the earliest possible time. You can speak to us today for a free, no obligation assessment of your case.
Healthcare regulators take a particularly serious view of cases involving professional boundary transgressions. However, in some cases, the facts might not be as clear and straightforward as might be presented. Common aggravating & mitigating factors that emerge in fitness to practise cases involving sexual boundary transgressions are:
Aggravating factors might include (but not limited to):
Mitigating factors might include (but not limited to):
The level of insight and remediation will be important considerations by any fitness to practise panel.
Reflection and demonstrating insight are important in fitness to practise proceedings. It is a well-established fact that simply saying sorry is not enough. Insight and remediation must be genuine and demonstrable.
“It is important that healthcare professionals engage with us and work together with us to be able to achieve a successful outcome. This is the case for any type of allegation but even more so where allegations are about character and not simply clinical competence.” – Catherine Stock, Kings View Barrister
We work with healthcare professionals on reflective practise, demonstrating insight and remediation. You can speak to us today for a free, no obligation assessment of your case.
You must not :
You should take care when:
Particular care must be taken when treating patients that are particularly vulnerable. You should assume that the more vulnerable someone is, the more likely it is that having a relationship with them would be an abuse of power and your position.