There have been cases reported the world over that reflect poorly on clinicians due to their manner or professionalism during an examination or treatment of patients.

Background to this Policy

There have also been cases where a clinician’s professionalism has been compromised by the unfounded claims of some patients who have been examined.

Purpose of this Policy

Ensure that patients in our care are supported during treatments, investigations and procedures of an intimate nature.

Protect patients’ dignity, enhance their understanding of the proposed intervention and ensure that there is no inappropriate behaviour on the part of the professional(s) carrying out the intervention.

Give reassurance to patients with regard to the professional nature of the intimate examination or intervention.

Demonstrate an understanding of a patient’s vulnerability and show respect for their concerns.

Provide a degree of legal protection for the clinician in the event of any misunderstanding or false allegation by the patient.

This policy is relevant to all employers and anyone who works at the Brunston & Lydbrook Practice.

When Might you Want a Chaperone?

Chaperone presence is recommended to staff for all patients undergoing an examination, irrespective of the gender of the Doctor or Nurse.

If the examination is to be carried out on a child a chaperone must be present at all times. A parent or carer should also be present although there may be some circumstances where this is not appropriate.

Any patient or clinician may request a chaperone, regardless of the nature of the examination or procedure. If staffing levels permit, such requests will be accommodated wherever possible.

If the examining clinician feels that a chaperone should be present and the offer of a chaperone is declined by the patient, the clinician may not wish to continue with the examination. The patient may be asked to sign a form to say they have declined a chaperone.

Who Can be a Chaperone?

The role of chaperone may be provided by a member of staff or by people accompanying you such as:

  • Husband
  • Wife
  • Carer
  • Parent
  • Or friend

Children cannot be chaperones and should not be present (this does not include babies) during an examination of an intimate nature.

Where a chaperone is a husband, wife, partner, relative or friend, you will be asked for your consent to that person being present during the examination and acting as your chaperone.

Particular consideration will be given to any cultural or religious differences when carrying out intimate examinations.It may also be difficult or inappropriate for a family member of the opposite sex (or a husband/wife) to be present during some intimate examinations.

Any patient or clinician may request a chaperone, for an examination of an intimate nature.If staffing levels permit, such requests will be accommodated wherever possible.

A separate opportunity for confidential or private conversation between patient and attending clinician – without the chaperone being present – may be arranged, if this is required, prior to or following any clinical examination.

What Happens when the Clinic/Department is Busy?

If you do not have a partner, friend or relative who you would like to be your chaperone, where staffing levels permit, we will try wherever possible to meet any requests for a staff chaperone. However, in busy periods it may be difficult to find clinical staff who are free to be chaperones. Non clinical staff can act as chaperones in this situation with the patient’s consent.

Procedure for Staff Chaperone

  1. The clinician will contact reception to request a chaperone.
  2. The clinician will record in the notes that the chaperone is present and identify the chaperone.
  3. The chaperone will enter the room discreetly and remain in the room until the clinician has finished the examination.
  4. The chaperone will normally attend inside the curtain at the head of the examination couch.
  5. 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.
  6. The chaperone will make a record in the patient’s notes after examination, or the clinician will record in the patient’s notes if the chaperone is unable to. The record will state that there were no problems, or give details of any concerns or incidents that occurred.
  7. The patient can refuse a chaperone, and if so, this MUST be recorded in the patient’s medical record.