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Guidelines on sexual boundaries for doctors adopted by MCI
,  11 April 2019
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NEW DELHI: The Medical Council of India (MCI) informed the Delhi High Court about its adoption of the guidelines on sexual boundaries for doctors, drafted by the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) to be followed by medical practitioners while examining and treating patients.

The MCI informed a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice AJ Bhambhani that the guidelines have been put on the MCI website which state that medical practitioners should not exploit the doctor-patient relationship for any social, personal, business or sexual gain.

The amicus curiae, appointed to assist the court in the matter, was asked to provide any further suggestions regarding the guidelines and listed the matter for July 16.

The MCI made the submissions in an affidavit filed following the courts order dated August 1, 2018 that directed the body to analyze the guidelines of the IPS and to draft appropriate guidelines pertaining to sexual boundaries and improprieties.

In the affidavit, the MCI said that the ethics committee considered the matter and decided to adopt the guidelines of IPS following due consideration. It mentioned that the ethics committees recommendations were placed before the Board of Governors in supersession of the MCI and it approved the decision to adopt the guidelines.

IPS, along with the Bangalore Declaration Group - a team of doctors across different medical specialties in India, have drafted a set of guidelines for doctors on sexual boundaries, for the first time, to teach them what is ethically right and wrong.

The guidelines state that it is the ethical duty of all the doctors to ensure effective care for their patients and their own conduct should not harm their patient in any way.

It said that sexual relationships between doctors and patients harm both the patient and the doctor. Trust, which is the key to an effective doctor-patient relationship, is damaged. It is the responsibility of the doctor to ensure that he/she does not engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with a patient.

It also states that while the laws in relation to sexual abuse in India generally pertain to women, these guidelines aim to be gender neutral.

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