Call Out When Patient's Gift Crosses The Line Says DDU

Call Out When Patient’s Gift Crosses The Line Says DDU

As Valentine’s Day has come and gone for another year, a leading indemnity company has issued a timely reminder to dental teams that they should not hesitate to call out what it calls ’inappropriate advances’ from patients.

On the surface, a bunch of flowers or Belgian choccies might constitute a refreshing change for a professional more accustomed to client opprobrium. But such gifts can easily cross a line that makes a recipient feel uncomfortable or intimidated.

The Dental Defence Union (DDU) says it has received several reports from dental professionals who have received ’inappropriate gifts from patients, including Valentine’s flowers and cards’.

One in ten of the 460 respondents who took part in a DDU survey on receiving gifts from patients had concerns about the reason for gift giving, ’including that the gift was inappropriate’. Some of those responding reported receiving cards and flowers on Valentine’s day from patients. 

Alison Large, one of the DDU’s dento-legal adviser said:

“It is not uncommon for dental professionals to be in a situation where they feel uncomfortable because a patient is behaving in an inappropriate way towards them. This can range from suggestive comments and inappropriate gifts or Valentine’s cards to intrusive questions and in some cases, sexual propositions. None of this is acceptable for healthcare professionals to face in the workplace and they should take action to prevent such behaviour from escalating.

“GDC Standards place a duty on dental professionals to maintain appropriate boundaries in the relationships they have with patients. With this in mind, it’s important to be alert to signs that a patient may be trying to overstep the professional boundary. This could include flirtatious direct messages, texts and calls or invitations to meet socially.

“If a patient behaves in a sexual way towards a dental professional it’s important to tell the patient their behaviour is inappropriate and ask them to stop as long as it is safe to do so. If this doesn’t work, dental professionals should seek help and report the incident in line with workplace policies.

“We would also advise those affected to keep a record of what happened and to get support from colleagues and your dental defence organisation.”


You need to be logged in to leave comments.

Please do not re-register if you have forgotten your details,
follow the links above to recover your password &/or username.
If you cannot access your email account, please contact us.

Mastodon Mastodon