Dordon & Polesworth Group Practice is committed to providing a safe, comfortable environment where patients and staff can be confident that best practice is being followed at all times and the safety of everyone is of paramount importance.
There are occasions where there is the potential for abuse of a person placed in a vulnerable position, and conversely false allegations to be made. This can have serious, long-term consequences for all those involved and may not come to light for many years.
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 examination or consultations.
Clinicians (male and female) should consider whether an intimate or personal examination of the patient( either male or female) is justified, or whether the nature of the consultation poses a risk of misunderstanding. There may be a rae occasion when an independent witness to a consultation might be prudent.
- Ensure that a suitable sign is clearly on display in each consulting or treatment room offering the chaperone service if required.
- The patient must be offered the choice to have a chaperone present in the room during an examination – It may be embarrasing to the patient if a staff member is known to them, so a choice of an alternative staff member may be necessary – the patient can refuse a chaperone, this must be recorded in the patient’s medical record.
- The clincian should give the patient a clear explanation of what the examination will involve while the chaperone is present.
- Always adopt a professional and considerate manner – be careful with humour as a way of relaxing a nervous situation as it can easily be misinterpreted.
- Always ensure that the patient is provided with adequate privacy to undress and dress.
This should remove the potential for misunderstanding. However, there will still be times when either the clinician, or the patient, feels uncomfortable, and it would be appropriate to consider using a chaperone. 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 must be rearranged for a mutually convenient time when a chaperone can be present.
Complaints and claims have not been limited to male doctors with female patients – there are many examples of alleged homosexual assault by female and male doctors. Consideration should also be given to the possibility of a malicious accusation by a patient.
There may be rare occasions when a chaperone is needed for a home visit. The following procedure should be followed.
Who can act as chaperone?
Where the practice determine that non-clinical staff will act in this capacity the patient must agree to the presence of a non-clinician in the examination, and be at ease with this. The staff member should be trained in the procedural aspects of personal examinations, comfortable in acting in the role of chaperone, and be confident in the scope and extent of their role.
- 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 latest GMC guidelines for intimate examinations can be found by viewing: http://www.gmc-uk.org/ethical-guidance/ethical-guidance-for-doctors/intimate-examinations-and-chaperones
- 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 (full name must be documented)
- 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 the room until the Clinician has finished the examination.
- The chaperone will normally attend inside the curtain at the head of the 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 documented notes must give the date, time and 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 patients medical record.
- If the Clinician wishes to conduct an examination with a chaperone present but the patient does not agree to this, the Clinician must clearly explain why they want a chaperone to be present. The clincian ma choose to consider referring the patient to a colleague who would be willing to examine them without a chaperone, as long as the delay would not have an adverse effect on the patients health.