Do you sometimes dread the family barbecue? When Uncle Bill asks about his bad hip or your sister-in-law asks if you could ‘just write a quick script’ for her son’s asthma?
According to Good Medical Practice – A Code of Conduct: “whenever possible avoid providing medical care to anyone with whom you have a close personal relationship”.
A doctor who provides care to people they know well – family, friends, work colleagues – may be acting unprofessionally because they will lack the objectivity required of a medical practitioner.
It is a risk to both the friend or relative and the doctor because continuity of care could be affected.
Of course, sometimes offering care to friends, family, or work colleagues is unavoidable. Accidents happen. Crises occur.
But as The Code of Conduct advises: “good medical practice requires recognition and careful management of these issues”.
It’s a judgment call. Doing CPR on a friend who collapses on a fun run is very different from getting into the habit of writing scripts for your asthma-suffering nephew.
So tell them you’d love to, but you can’t.
Tell them it’s not worth the risk to them or to you.
Tell them that without proper medical assessment their medical care is being compromised.
Tell them that the Medical Council of NSW – which regulates the behavior and practice of all the doctors in NSW – recommends against it.