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NHS staff advised not to 'swipe right' at work to avoid dating fellow medics and patients
30 October 2023, 18:05 | Updated: 30 October 2023, 18:08
The NHS is advising doctors not to "swipe right" at work and to "avoid sexting, if possible", under new dating advice.
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Health Education England (HEE) has issued online safety advice for trainees, including guidance on dating apps and sexting.
The advice states that medics should not use dating apps at work.
Most dating apps use geolocation to find other nearby users, meaning that if medics do use dating apps on the job, it increases the possibility of "inappropriate communications" with patients or colleagues.
Medical professionals are already not allowed to have relationships with their patients, under General Medical Council guidance.
The advice also tells medics to "avoid sexting, if possible".
It continues: "If you do sext, only do so with people you know and trust" but adds that if they do choose to send sexual images of themselves, they should keep their faces out of the photos.
The guidance created by HEE sympathises with medics and understands how the job can detrimentally impact their "social and romantic" lives, highlighting how these apps make dating more convenient for medical trainees.
"However, the prominence of dating apps does pose unique challenges that are worthy of consideration", the guidance adds.
The advice warns how dating apps blur a doctor’s "personal and professional persona", which makes it difficult to balance "the rights of individuals to express themselves, reassuring patients who might be met socially, either online or in person, and the requirement to uphold the principles outlined in GMC guidance."
However, medics have mocked the HEE’s guidance, with one calling it "laughable" and another accusing it of implementing "puritan moral standards" into medics’ personal lives.
Chris Snowdon, head of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs told The Telegraph: "This document correctly notes that doctors ‘lead busy lives with hectic schedules.’ If only the same could be said for the staff at Health Education England.
"It took six people with meaningless job titles to produce these few pages of inane advice.
"It is laughable and yet it illustrates the serious point that the NHS is a two-tier system in which medics are stressed and overworked while a legion of bureaucrats create pointless work for themselves."
Gus Hamilton, an infection doctor and researcher from Bristol, has criticised the organisation for focusing on the wrong issues.
He said: "Really glad HEE have sorted out the major issues in medical training such as very low levels of satisfaction, greatest pressure in NHS ever, concern re academic training... and therefore can find the time to write this helpful guidance on dating."