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Regulator warns over relationships

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New guidance has warned nurses against having sexual relationships with patients and former patients, even if the professional relationship ended a long time previously.
The document published by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence says sexual relationships with a former patient or carer will ‘often be inappropriate however long ago the professional relationship ended’.
Nurses should never terminate a therapeutic relationship to pursue a social or sexual one, it adds.
The regulations include a list of ‘inappropriate sexualised behaviour’, which ranges from accepting a date or using sexual humour to sexual assault.
RCN head of policy Howard Catton said guidance was important because vulnerable patients needed to be protected but added that it was ‘very difficult to legislate for matters of the heart’.
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