Receiving Gifts from your patients and registering those gifts
As an LMC we wanted to point out the rules around receiving gifts from your patients and also how to register these gifts correctly. This is an area which is governed by both contractual and ethical angles and both show the need for transparency and accountability.
Can I accept a gift from a patient?
GMC guidance says that you can accept unsolicited gifts from patients as long as this ‘does not affect, or appear to affect, the way you prescribe for, advise, treat, refer, or commission services for patients and you have not used your influence to pressurise or persuade patients or their relatives.’
You must not encourage patients to give, lend or bequeath money or gifts that will directly or indirectly benefit you and if you receive a gift or bequest from a patient or their relative, you should consider the potential damage this could cause to your patients’ trust in you and the public’s trust in the profession. You should refuse gifts where they could be perceived as an abuse of trust.
Does my practice need to have a register of gifts?
The main rules around accepting gifts are that you are required to register the gifts so yes, there should be a register in the practice. You should keep a register of gifts worth £100 or more from patients or their relatives unless the gift is unconnected with the provision of services.
The register must include the name of the donor, the nature of the gift and its estimated value.
Who can ask to see this register?
With regards to who can see this register, the CCG can request sight of it and also a patient/member of the public could under a freedom of information request. In these circumstances, confidentially laws such as GDPR would have to be taken into account so the register would need some information redacting.
It is worth noting that GPs may need to seek tax advice about declaring large gifts for tax purposes.
it is also worth noting that NHSE’s guidance on managing conflicts of interest suggests that gifts valued over £50 should be treated with caution and should only be accepted on behalf of an organisation.
NHSE also say that it is important for doctors to keep a record of any gifts they receive for their appraisal and revalidation. You can also keep any thank you letters or other tokens of appreciation as this provides valuable colleague and patient feedback. Please click here for further guidance.