Receiving gifts from patients

We talk through what considerations you should make as a GP if a patient or their relative offers to give you a gift, ethically and contractually.

Location: England Wales Northern Ireland
Audience: GPs Practice managers
Updated: Monday 7 September 2020
GP practice article illustration

This is an area which is governed by both contractual and ethical angles. Both show the need for transparency and accountability when accepting donations or gifts from patients.

 

Contractual issues

  • You are required to register gifts.
  • The current regulations apply to all GPs, including locums.
  • Individuals should keep a register of gifts worth £100+ from patients or their relatives, unless the gift is unconnected with the provision of services.
  • CCGs can request sight of such registers.
  • The register itself must include the name of the donor, nature of the gift and its estimated value.
  • Although these regulations only cover England, equivalent regulations operate in rest of the UK.
  • GPs may also need to seek tax advice about declaring large gifts for tax purposes.

 

Ethical issues

The key ethical issues are around the impact of gifts on the objectivity and professionalism of the doctor-patient relationship.

The GMC's good practice guidelines state:

  • you must not encourage patients to give, lend or bequeath money or gifts that will directly or indirectly benefit you
  • you must not put pressure on patients or their families to make donations to other people or organisations.

If you have any queries in relation to this issue, you should contact us for help and advice.

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