This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pul jul aug2020 cover 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

Independents' Day

Ten ethical dilemmas of 2016 – what would you do?

Pulse runs through the most-read ethical dilemmas of the year 

bladder pains consultation 3x2

bladder pains consultation 3x2

A patient won’t see a ‘non-white’ GP

A patient asks for an appointment, but when told which GP they are seeing, they say they won’t accept a ‘non-white’ GP. What should we do at the practice?

Can I insist patients get vitamin D over the counter?

If a patient comes to me and asks to get vitamin D on the NHS, can you insist they get it over the counter?

Can we issue private prescriptions to NHS patients?

Three experts advise a GP who is wondering whether he can help patients save money by sometimes prescribing on a private basis.

Do I have to refer a patient for homeopathy? 

A patient with disseminated malignancy has asked for referral to a hospital for integrated care with a view to homeopathy. I don’t believe homeopathy is an effective treatment or in her best interest. How should I respond?

Do we continue prescribing BP drugs without review?

Three experts advise on whether a GP should stop the medication of a patient who repeatedly fails to attend the practice. 

What do I do if a patient forges a sick note?

I have discovered that one of my patients has forged my signature on a sick note. What do I do?

Can I allow access to a deceased patient’s notes?

A family member of one of my patients who has recently died wants to see the deceased patient’s medical record. Should I give it to them?

How do I encourage a patient to see our pharmacist?

Four experts advise a GP whose patients are showing reluctance to see their new practice pharmacist.

Do I have to record drug taking in a patient’s notes?

A patient doesn’t want me to document a history of cannabis smoking in their notes. How should I respond?

How should we respond to negative comments on social media?

Our practice has been receiving negative comments on social media. How should we deal with this?

Rate this article  (5 average user rating)

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Readers' comments (1)

  • Azeem Majeed

    Thank you. A very interesting range of ethical and clinical dilemmas.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say