Avoid intimate relationships with patients, clients

A regulated health professional will have their certificate of registration revoked if they become involved in a sexual relationship with a patient or client Elyse tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“Even if the health professional was vigorously pursued by a patient, and ultimately succumbed to their advances, and entered into a relationship or engaged in sexual contact, that is sexual abuse,” says Sunshine.

“Any health professional who is caught, and convicted of sexual abuse, even in the context of a relationship, by their regulatory College will find themselves with a revoked certificate of registration.”

Sunshine cites a recent finding where an Oakville psychiatrist had her certificate of registration revoked by the College of Physicians and Surgeons after having an affair with a married patient.

The College found the psychiatrist “engaged in sexual abuse of a patient; and in that she has engaged in an act or omission relevant to the practice of medicine that, having regard to all the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional.”

Sunshine says the Health Professions Procedural Code is clear about the prohibition against relationships between health professionals and their patients or clients.

“The very nature of that entire relationship is so inherently imbalanced,” she says. “The issue is not who initiates the relationship — it is that the relationship exists at all. Regardless of who initiates sexual contact with a patient or client, that is sexual abuse. There can never be consent.”

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