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‘A serious breach’: Pharmacist warned over sexual relationship with patient

The regulator has warned a pharmacist to maintain “boundaries” after she entered a relationship with a patient.  

Community pharmacist Joanna Gillies, registration number 2231484, was issued a warning by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) last month (June 24) after it was “discovered” that she had entered into a relationship with a patient.

“Gillies had been supervising patient A’s treatment between November 2022 to March 2023,” the investigating committee said.

“During this time, [she] entered a relationship with Patient A that included a sexual element,” the committee added.

The regulator said that Gillies “did not disclose this relationship to her supervisors or other professionals” involved in the patient’s care “until it was discovered in March 2023”.

“Patient A had been receiving treatment at the pharmacy on a daily basis for many years,” it added.

The GPhC decided to issue Gillies “a warning in relation to the conduct alleged”.

 

“Reject inappropriate advances”

 

The warning “reminded” Gillies that “the boundaries between patients and healthcare practitioners must be maintained at all times”.

It also warned her “that it is her responsibility to protect the therapeutic relationship, reject any inappropriate advances by patients or remove herself from such a situation entirely if this is in the patient’s best interests”.

“Gillies is further reminded that she must speak up if she is having difficulty with a patient, particularly if failure to do so may negatively affect others,” it added.

“The conduct must not be repeated, and she must at all times adhere to the standards for pharmacy professionals,” the GPhC said. 

 

“Serious disrepute”

 

“The therapeutic relationship between a patient and their healthcare provider is a fundamental cornerstone of healthcare,” the committee said. 

“Breakdowns in this relationship can compromise the treatment they receive and bring serious disrepute to the profession,” it added.

“Additionally, pharmacy professionals must be able to speak to their colleagues and supervisors when issues arise, even if this may cause embarrassment to themselves,” it said.

“Failure to do so may risk harm to others and compromise the treatment provided to patients,” it added.

The GPhC said that Gillies’ actions had “been a serious breach of the standards”.

It decided to issue a warning “published on the register” and “available for 12 months”.

Read the determination in full here.

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