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Chaperones

All medical consultations, examinations and investigations are potentially distressing. Patients can find examinations, investigations or photography involving the breasts, genitalia or rectum particularly intrusive (these examinations are collectively referred to as “intimate examinations”). Also consultations involving dimmed lights, the need for patients to undress or for intensive periods of being touched may make a patient feel vulnerable.

Therefore before conducting an intimate examination clinicians will offer patients the security of having an impartial observer (chaperone) present during an intimate examination but could also include any examination where it is necessary to touch or even be close to the patient. This is aimed 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. This will apply whether or not the clinician is the same gender as the patient.

A patient can refuse a chaperone, and, if so, this will be recorded in the patient’s medical record. Also any examination where a chaperone was present will be documented in the patients’ medical records.

Who can act as a Chaperone?

Although a chaperone does not have to be medically qualified the Practice policy is that non-clinical members of staff should not act as chaperones as they are not trained to be familiar with the procedures involved in intimate examinations.

Therefore chaperones will be clinical staff familiar with procedural aspects of personal examination