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. Broadly, it follows guidance issued by the General Medical Council.
Clinicians (male and female) where an intimate or personal examination of the patient (either male or female) is justified should;
- Give the patient a clear explanation of what the examination will involve and give the opportunity to ask questions.
- Adopt a professional and considerate manner
- Offer the chaperone service if required
- Always ensure that the patient is provided with adequate privacy to undress and dress and keep the patient covered as much as possible to maintain their dignity
- Not assist the patient in removing clothing unless the patient has advised specifically that assistance is required.
Patients who request a chaperone should never be examined without a chaperone being present. If necessary, where a chaperone is not available, the consultation / examination should be rearranged for a mutually convenient time when a chaperone can be present. There may be rare occasions when a chaperone is needed for a home visit. The same procedure should still be followed.
WHO CAN ACT AS A CHAPERONE?
A chaperone does not have to be medically qualified but will
- Be trained as a Chaperone and familiar with the procedures involved in a routine intimate examination
- Be sensitive, and respectful of the patient’s dignity and confidentiality
- Be prepared to reassure the patient if they show signs of distress or discomfort
- Be prepared to raise concerns about a Clinician where appropriate
- 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.
- The clinician will contact Reception to request a chaperone.
- The clinician will record in the notes that the chaperone is present, and identify the chaperone.
- Where no chaperone is available the examination will not take place – the patient should not normally be permitted to dispense with the chaperone once a desire to have one present has been expressed.
- The chaperone will enter the room discreetly and remain in room until the clinician has finished the examination.
- The chaperone will normally attend inside the curtain at the head of the examination couch and watch the procedure.
- To prevent embarrassment, the chaperone should not enter into conversation with the patient or GP unless requested to do so, or make any mention of the consultation afterwards.
- The chaperone will make a record in the patient’s notes after examination. The record will state that there were no problems, or give details of any concerns or incidents that occurred.
- The patient can refuse a chaperone, and if so this must be recorded in the patient’s medical record.