Half of family doctors in the UK want to relax the strict ethical rules, which ban them from having sexual relationship with their patients, a new survey has found.
They think it is acceptable to have a sexual relationship with a patient as long as they move to another doctor's practice, according to the poll carried out by trade magazine Pulse.
One in six family doctors say in some cases it may even be appropriate to have an affair with one of their own patients.
"An absolute ban on sexual relationships with patients or former patients is an unfair limitation on the right to pursue happiness for doctors and patients alike," the Telegraph quoted Dr Tony Grewal, a GP in London, said, as saying.
"We need new, authoritative public guidance which acknowledges the changes of the last 20 years, maintains the necessary safeguards for the vulnerable against exploitation or coercion, but gives a framework for those who wish to develop proper relationships," he stated.
Current guidance from the General Medical Council states: "In order to maintain professional boundaries, and the trust of patients and the public, you must not establish or pursue a sexual or improper emotional relationship with a patient."
The poll of 282 GPs suggested that many doctors feel there is nothing morally wrong with forming a relationship with a patient, particularly if they register with another surgery.
In total 48 per cent questioned said they would support a GP's decision to enter into a sexual relationship with a patient as long as they started going elsewhere for medical care.