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Clear sexual boundaries

30 Dec 2014
  • Our Standards

Guidance for patients, health professionals, education and training providers and fitness to practise panels published in 2008 and 2009.


The vast majority of healthcare professionals work with dedication and integrity and are committed to the best possible patient care. However, in a small minority of cases healthcare professionals have seriously breached sexual boundaries with patients or their carers. These have been the subject of several major national inquiries and a number of investigations in recent years. These inquiries have shown that patients and carers can be seriously harmed when healthcare professionals breach sexual boundaries.


We were commissioned to offer the following guidance:

Guidance for patients on clear sexual boundaries with healthcare professionals.

The guidance, which has been published jointly with NHS Employers, sets out how patients can protect themselves against healthcare professionals who cross sexual boundaries.

Clear sexual boundaries between healthcare professionals and patients: responsibilities of healthcare professionals.

This is a statement of the responsibilities of health professionals, which the individual regulatory bodies have used as a basis for guidance to their registrants.

Clear sexual boundaries between healthcare professionals and patients: guidance for fitness to practise panels.

In this document we advise regulatory bodies’ fitness to practise panels on the special considerations that should apply when hearing a case involving sexual misconduct.

Learning about sexual boundaries between healthcare professionals and patients: a report on education and training.

These are our proposals on how training in the maintenance of clear sexual boundaries should be incorporated into the training of health professionals.

Sexual boundary violations by health professionals – an overview of the published empirical literature.

This is a literature review of existing evidence about sexual misconduct by health professionals.