GP Stage 3 Simulated Consultation - Relative 4
You are an SHO in a GP surgery and your next patient is Sarah Tomlins. You met Sarah last week when she brought her 3 month old son Harry in for a consultation. Harry had been persistently crying and drawing up his legs, especially in the evening. You suspected a diagnosis of Infantile Colic and advised a trial of Infacol.
You are Sarah Tomlins, mother of 3 month old Harry. You came to clinic last week to discuss Harry’s persistent crying and irritability and the doctor suggested that you try a medication called Infacol (for Infantile Colic). You are very grateful for the doctor’s advice and have returned to give him a present (Two First Class Flight Tickets to New York).
You are extremely appreciative for the doctor’s advice and believe that it has changed your life. Prior to commencing the medication, Harry was keeping you awake all night and this was affecting your mood, energy and ability to complete your work as the Managing Director of a Central London Investment Bank.
You believe that the present is more than justified and are offended by any attempts to refuse/return the gift, and insist on providing an alternative gift should the doctor prefer this.
You are otherwise well, with no medical or social concerns. Harry is presently at home being looked after by the nanny. Your husband is a lawyer, presently at work.
This case requires an understanding of GMC guidelines on ‘Gifts, bequests and donations’. GMC guidelines state doctors may accept gifts from patients where there has not been influence or pressure on patients/relatives to offer gifts and provided the gift does not affect patient care. This is widely interpreted as the acceptance of a proportionate gift eg. Chocolate box for providing on-going care, rather than two first class flight tickets for diagnosing infantile colic.
As such, it would be inappropriate to accept the gift of the parent and instead an acknowledgment of the kind thought, apology for being unable to accept the present as well as further probing into the present welfare of Harry and Sarah would be the most appropriate approach.