As if morale was not low enough. Now the MDU in its advice Dec 5th: Doctors advised on dealing with ‘intrusive’ social media advances. Many “heartsink” patients have personality disorders, and the over sympathetic GP collects more than their fair share. Tough love which demands patient autonomy rather than dependence is the answer, as it is with rationing in general. Stalking can occur with nurses and other primary health team workers as well..
Doctors have been advised to tighten their privacy settings on social media and to decline gifts from patients in order to discourage unwanted advances.
Social media has made doctors “more accessible than ever” to patients, the Medical Defence Union warned. The body, which represents doctors in legal disputes, has dealt with a hundred cases in the past five years involving patients who have attempted to advance a relationship beyond the doctor’s clinic.
Beverley Ward, a medico-legal adviser at the union, said that a handful of those cases had “involved the type of stalking behaviour where a doctor may need to involve the police”.
“If [patients’ advances] are not nipped in the bud . . . things can get out of hand,” she said.