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Five ethical dilemmas from 2015 - what would you do?

The most-read ethical conundrums of 2015 on PulseToday

1. Can I stop a patient recording our consultation? 

A notoriously difficult patient starts an appointment by asking to record the consultation. Can you refuse their request? And what can you do if the patient records it covertly? 

Consultation carousel

Consultation carousel


2. Should I report a patient I suspect of benefits fraud? 

Three experts advise what to do if you suspect a patient is defrauding the welfare system

Consultation 330x170

Consultation 330x170


3. My colleague is depressed, but won’t see their GP. What should I do?

A colleague has admitted that she is not coping well at work and is depressed, possibly suffering from burnout. However, she refuses to see her GP, or seek other professional help. What should you do?

working late - burnout - stress

working late - burnout - stress


4. Should we reimburse a wasted prescription charge? 

One of your GP partners has arranged a prescription for an antibiotic to treat an ongoing UTI. He later realises that he had misread the MSU sensitivities, and the infection was resistant to that antibiotic. By then, the patient had had the item dispensed, and she asked if the practice would reimburse her the wasted prescription fee. How should you respond?

prescription long

prescription long


5. Are Good Samaritan Acts a bad idea?

While on holiday this year, a woman collapsed and you step in to help. Was this the right decision?

A&E entrance - emergency - emergency - online

A&E entrance - emergency - emergency - online

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Readers' comments (1)

  • I have been recording all consultations for more than a year.
    Nearly all patients think it is a good idea.

    What promted it was an NCAS inspection where, based on the written records, I was accused of failing in all aspects.

    It is simply not possible to type up all that happens in the 10 minute consultation, even if you could physically recall all the details.

    I prioritise consulting over documenting irrelevant details. I prioritise looking at the patient over looking at the screen. I prioritise the patient agenda over trying to cover my back.

    Like Haslam, I try not to restrict the patients in bringing their concerns, but with all the additional distractions (QOF, alcohol screening nonsense, 10,000 emails, NHS directives, work dumping by secondary and OOH, CQRS, annual reports, management initiatives wasting time on just about everything spring to mind) the price for attending to the patient is running late in surgeries and cutting back on documenting irrelevant minutiae, the reading of which will only waste other's time like the reading of irrelevant minutiae of OOH and MIU attendances for minor self limiting conditions is wasting my time.

    My eyes were opened by the criticism dished out in the NCAS report, the same could happen if a solicitor would pursue you for some mishap, if it is not there it has not happened. Courts will take patient accounts over yours.

    I have nothing to hide in my consultations. If I thought my work was not up to scratch I would resign as patients deserve a competent doctor.

    I think GP's stand to gain more from recording the consultations than they could ever lose.

    After 6 months of recording all consultations I started to get a feeling of unease over me when audacity crashed and no audio record was being made.

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