At it’s February 2019 meeting, the College Board approved a new Patient Relations Program Standard (‘The Standard’) to be included under Schedule “A” – Code of Ethics of the Health Professions Act Bylaws. The Standard helps to protect public safety by providing clearer standards and requirements for dealing with misconduct of a sexual nature.

The Standard provides guidance to pharmacy professionals on maintaining proper professional boundaries with patients and former patients, and preventing professional misconduct of a sexual nature. It also raises pharmacy professionals’ awareness of their responsibility to educate themselves on professional ethics.

While complaints regarding sexual misconduct by College registrants are rare, the Standard will provide a more robust regulatory framework to protect the public against a range of patient relations issues.

What is Professional Misconduct of a Sexual Nature?

Sexual Misconduct includes:

  • Sexual intercourse or other forms of physical sexual relations between the registrant and the patient,
  • Touching, of a sexual nature, of the patient by the registrant, or
  • Behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature by the registrant towards the patient.

This does not include touching, behaviour and remarks by the registrants towards the patient that are of a clinical nature appropriate to the service being provided.

The guidelines in the Standard align with the principles of the Framework for a Model Patient-Practitioner Relationship Program for BC Health Regulators. The Standard applies these principles to pharmacy practice, and enhances regulatory safeguards to protect patients and the public.

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