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The provision of health care usually involves a degree of physical proximity and contact between the caregiver and patient, but unfortunately, a few individuals in the industry have exploited such situations to commit abuse. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The delivery of health care services in a range of settings and to different categories of patients can give rise to a variety of risk factors. With most industry sectors seeking coverage for sexual molestation liability, the focus is almost exclusively upon the risk of abuse involving minors. While that is obviously a key consideration for health care providers too, they also face arguably the greatest and most complex issues of risk management and abuse prevention involving vulnerable adults under their care and supervision.

The provision of health care usually involves a degree of physical proximity and contact between the caregiver and patient. In the vast majority of cases, this dynamic is handled with the greatest professionalism and sensitivity and within the parameters of informed consent. Sadly, a few individuals in the health care industry have exploited such situations to commit abuse. For example, we have seen situations where doctors have produced and retained inappropriate and intimate images of patients under the guise of treatment, or routinely undertaken inappropriate physical examinations.

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