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Our locum has a small private practice specialising in dermatology products – where do we stand about her advertising her products and services within the surgery?

Our locum has a small private practice specialising in dermatology products – where do we stand about her advertising her products and services within the surgery?

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Question in full:

We are an NHS and private practice. We are using a locum to cover NHS maternity leave; the locum also has a small private practice specialising in dermatology products including Botox, fillers and various creams. Where do we stand about her advertising her products and services within the surgery – are we endorsing them? What about her potentially seeing and charging any of our NHS patients for these products?

Answer:

In principle, there is nothing to prevent the locum selling the private practice products and services if you are minded to let her. The main concern is how she does it.

For example, it is essential that it is not done in a way that could directly or indirectly mislead a patient to think it is part of the NHS service – for example, by use of the NHS logo on any literature, or even use of the practice name if it is perceived as an NHS practice. Further guidance on use of the NHS logo and associated brand is available on the NHS brand website (www.nhsidentity.nhs.uk).

It is also imperative that no products or services are sold that are available on the NHS, or, if they are, this must be clearly explained to the patient, and he/she should be given the option of the NHS alternative.

You might also like to consider whether there is any risk to the practice, either of a claim or just in terms of damage to reputation, if a patient suffered any harm as a result of using any of these products or services. Even if you could ensure the claim ultimately rested with the locum, that may not stop the practice initially being drawn into a claim and suffering adverse publicity.

Is the practice confident that it can satisfactorily monitor what the locum does and ensure compliance? If you have doubts then it may be worth assessing whether it is appropriate to allow the locum to do this.

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