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Independents' Day

New legal advice

GPs who refer patients to complementary therapists who are not registered with a statutory body remain legally responsible for their care, the GPC has


New guidance states that if GPs rely on their knowledge or belief in a therapy, and their personal knowledge of a therapist, in making a referral, patients could take action against the GP if they suffered harm.

The guidance, designed to clarify GPs' legal and ethical obligations when patients request complementary treatments, advised practices to recall patients after their treat- ment with such therapists to review its effects.

GPs should record in notes if patients prefer to pursue complementary therapies, it said. If GPs refer to therapists registered with the GMC or Nursing and Midwifery Council they will pass on legal responsibility.

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