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Medical staff get advice on gifts

Medical staff are being given guidance on how to handle gifts from patients.

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) states that gifts should not impact on the care a patient receives. It also urged people to keep a register of gifts.

It comes after members of the union contacted them for advice on the issue over the festive period.

One GP received part of an elderly patient's silver collection, but the gift was quickly followed by a complaint from disgruntled family members. In a separate incident a practice manager opened a Christmas card from a patient to find a cheque written to him personally for £1,000. A nurse was also given lingerie from a patient presented in a ribboned box.

Dr Brigid Simpson, MDU medico-legal adviser said: "We have issued specific advice for practice managers because they may be tasked with drawing up a practice policy on gifts or asked to keep a register, which is a contractual requirement for GPs, so it is important they are up to date on the latest guidance.

"The General Medical Council and Nursing and Midwifery Council advise doctors and nurses that they must not accept gifts which may affect or be seen to affect their judgement. And the Institute of Healthcare Management also issues similar advice to its practice manager members."

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