All patients are entitled to have a chaperone present for any consultation, examination or procedure where they feel one is required. This chaperone may be a family member or friend. On occasions you may prefer a formal chaperone to be present, i.e. a trained member of staff.
Wherever possible we would ask you to make this request at the time of booking the appointment so that arrangements can be made and your appointment is not delayed in any way. Where this is not possible we will endeavour to provide a formal chaperone at the time of request. However occasionally it may be necessary to reschedule your appointment.
The Medical Protection Society has produced the following guidance for Patients and Practices.
Ten best practice points for the use of chaperones:
- Any patient can request a chaperone for any consultation. As this will usually require a second clinician to attend, please give us as much advance notice as possible so we can make a chaperone available.
- Chaperones should be offered to patients for intimate examinations. Your GP/ Nurse should consider what defines “intimate” and should judge this from the patient’s perspective.
- We must all be aware of and respect cultural differences. Religious beliefs may also have a bearing on the patient’s decision over whether to have a chaperone present.
- It is Practice policy that the best person to have act as a chaperone would be a member of the clinical team. That clinician will have been fully trained to act as a clinical chaperone.
- The patient should be introduced to the chaperone before the examination can proceed. The chaperone will need to be present during the examination.
- A clinician may wish to have a chaperone present for their own reputational protection.
- We will never force a chaperone on an unwilling patient. If this facility is declined by a patient the clinician should note that in the patient’s medical records.
- If the clinician does not wish to proceed in the absence of a chaperone, they should explain this to the patient and the reasons why. The patient might then reconsider or agree to see a different doctor on another occasion.
- The clinician should not assume that a chaperone is not needed just because they are the same sex as the patient.
- Using a chaperone every time you examine a patient is impractical – the patient and the clinician should use their judgment about individual situations to decide when a chaperone is appropriate.