CHAPERONE POLICY

The Broadstairs Medical Practice is committed to providing a safe, comfortable environment where patients and staff can be confident that best practice is being followed at all times and the safety of everyone is of paramount importance.

This policy is designed to protect both patients and staff from abuse or allegations of abuse and to assist patients to make an informed choice about their examinations and consultations.

All patients are entitled to have a chaperone present for any consultation, examination or procedure where they consider one is required. The chaperone may be a family member or a friend, but on occasions a formal chaperone may be preferred.

Patients are advised to ask for a chaperone if required, at the time of booking an appointment, if possible, so that arrangements can be made and the appointment is not delayed in any way. The Healthcare Professional may also require a chaperone to be present for certain consultations.

All staff are aware of and have received appropriate information and training in relation to the Chaperone Policy.

All understand their role and responsibilities and are competent to perform the role of the chaperone.

When is a Chaperone required?

1) Intimate examinations. These are examinations of rectal, genital or breast area.

2) For patients with certain cultural or religious beliefs any examination requiring shedding of clothing. This alone may be abhorrent and when dealing with such patients GPs need to approach the subject with particular sensitivity.

3) Patients with disabilities. A patient with a severe mental or physical disability is unlikely to attend surgery unaccompanied. GPs should endeavour to communicate with the patient with the assistance of the relative or carer accompanying them. Particular care should be taken to ensure the patient is not made to feel that their wishes are being ignored.

4) Examinations by a member of the opposite sex are in some religions effectively taboo.

5) Examinations on patients with poor English. It would be unwise to proceed with any examination unless the GP is satisfied that the patient understands and can give informed consent. If an interpreter is present they may be able to double as a chaperone. If an urgent clinical need for an examination is evident, every effort should be made to communicate with the patient by whatever means are available before proceeding with the examination.

6) Examinations on children. Children are expected to be accompanied by a parent or adult relative to whom the need for the examination will be explained and consent obtained. They will be expected to remain with the child during the examination, so a further chaperone will not normally be necessary. The GP will obviously see to reassure the child and explain the examination if appropriate to the child.

7) Teenagers aged 13 and upwards can consent to examinations provided the GP is sure that they have sufficient competence to understand the nature and purpose of the examination. It would be advisable for a chaperone to be present or in the case of a female patient for the examination to be carried out by a female doctor.

Under all these situations the doctor or nurse will

1) Explain why the examination is needed and what it will involve.

2) Obtain the verbal expressed permission before proceeding.

3) Give the patient privacy to dress and undress.

4) Allow the patient to postpone or decline to be examined.

5) If appropriate offer a chaperone and document the fact that the patient has been offered a chaperone and that permission has been given or declined

 

CONFIDENTIALITY

  • The chaperone should only be present for the examination itself, and most discussion with the patient should take place while the chaperone is not present. 
  • Patients should be reassured that all practice staff understand their responsibility not to divulge confidential information.

 

Latest GMC guidelines for intimate examinations

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