A report says that doctors in Britain are facing the increasing problem of infatuated patients trying to flirt or harass them by sending messages on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
According to the Medical Defence Union (MDU), the number of those seeking help to deal with unwanted advances has risen by a third as social networking sites, as well as emails and text messages, made contact easier.
AdvertisementThe worst cases saw police called in and injunctions taken out to prevent doctors from being stalked or harassed, the Daily Mail reports.
According to the report, some doctors even found themselves being falsely accused by infatuated patients of carrying on a relationship with them, leaving them in danger of being struck off.
In one case, a male GP began to receive letters and gifts from a patient with mental health problems.
The woman was told the contact was inappropriate, but continued to send letters and also sent repeated friend requests on Facebook.
After her care was transferred to another doctor in the practice, she told the General Medical Council she had had a sexual relationship with the first GP.
According to the report, the doctor denied this and was cleared of any wrongdoing, but only after a six-month investigation.
The report said that between 2002 and 2006, the MDU, Britain's biggest insurer of GPs, received 73 requests for help in dealing with unwanted advances.
This rose to 100 from 2007 to 2011, the report added.