Who can Request a Chaperone?
Any patient can request a chaperone at any time but in particular if any intimate examination is to take place.
Notices are present in reception and in consulting rooms reminding patients they are entitled to a chaperone at any time.
If a patient knows that they may need an intimate examination such as a breast examination or examination of genitalia in particular they should be given the choice of doctor/nurse that they see and the option of a chaperone when they book the appointment.
What if it is not possible?
If this is not possible then all clinical staff are required to offer a chaperone should they need to undertake an examination of the patient that is either intimate in any way such as breast examination or genitalia or if the patient feels particularly vulnerable for some reason, e.g. if they are under the age of 16 or if they have had a difficult experience in the past or are mistrustful of people in authority for some reason e.g. past abuse etc.
This applies to a male or female doctor and a male or female patient.
If a chaperone is not available, or if the patient is uncomfortable in any way, then they can be offered another appointment at a different time or be seen by a different person but the patient should always be given the option.
What is a Chaperone for?
The chaperone’s sole purpose is to act in a capacity to ensure that there is no inappropriate behaviour on the part of the examining nurse or doctor and that the conduct of the patient is also appropriate.
The chaperone should be either a clinical member of staff or another member of staff who has had training.
They are entitled to stop the examination at any point if they feel that there is any inappropriate behaviour from either party.
In this instance the practice manager should be notified immediately and the appropriate steps taken to deal with the situation.