A GP is facing disciplinary action after she was found to be having an affair with a married patient, whose wife and children were also her patients.
Health and Disability Commissioner Anthony Hill today released a report which found the General Practitioner had breached the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights for failing to maintain professional boundaries.
The GP formed a relationship with the man while his wife and children were her patients, and afterwards breached the woman's confidentiality when she divulged private medical information to her husband.
The man, his wife and their three children were all registered as patients of the GP in 2015, and had been for three years when the GP received a Facebook friend request from the married man.
From here they embarked on an affair and the GP transferred the man to another doctor at the practice.
The wife and the child, however, remained her patients.
Around two months into the affair the man told his wife that he had been unfaithful and that he was leaving her for his mistress.
The wife was so distraught by the news that she felt incapable of working, and so made an appointment with the medical centre to hopefully obtain a medical certificate. An appointment was made with her usual doctor, the GP.
On learning that the wife had booked to see her, the GP panicked and messaged her new lover to say that his wife had made an appointment.
Anthony Hill stated that the GP had failed to comply with professional and ethical standards.
"[The GP] should have been aware that forming a personal relationship with [the man] could impact negatively on [the wife's] care and that of the children," Hill said.
Hill has recommended that the GP enter into a mentoring relationship with a senior colleague suggested by Medical Council of New Zealand, for one year.
The mentor should provide confirmation to the Council and HDC that mentoring has occurred and that the GP appears to be maintaining appropriate professional boundaries with patients and their families.
Hill also recommended that the GP apologise to the woman and her family.