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. A chaperone is an “impartial observer”, and as a patient, you can request a chaperone for any clinical examination, but it will normally be offered for intimate examinations.
WHO CAN ACT AS A CHAPERONE?
A variety of people can act as a chaperone in the practice. Where possible, it is strongly recommended that chaperones should be clinical staff. Where suitable clinical staff members are not available the examination should be deferred.
Where the doctor/nurse determines that non-clinical staff will act in this capacity, this will only be if you 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 you should take place while the chaperone is not present.
- You should be reassured that all practice staff understand their responsibility not to divulge confidential information.
Before conducting an intimate examination, the doctor or nurse should:
- explain to you why an examination is necessary and give you an opportunity to ask questions
- explain what the examination will involve, in a way you can understand, so that you have a clear idea of what to expect, including any pain or discomfort
- get your permission before the examination and record that you have given it
- offer you a chaperone
- if dealing with a child or young person:-
the doctor or nurse will assess their capacity to consent to the examination
if they lack the capacity to consent, the doctor or nurse will seek their parent’s consent
- The doctor/nurse will contact a member of the nursing staff to request a chaperone
- The doctor/nurse 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 –you should not normally be permitted to dispense with the chaperone once a desire to have one present has been expressed.
- The doctor/nurse will always ensure that the you are provided with adequate privacy to undress and dress.
During the examination:
- explain what they are going to do before they do it and, if this differs from what you been told before, they will explain why and seek your permission
- stop the examination if you asks them to
- keep discussion relevant and not make unnecessary personal comments.
- The chaperone will enter the room discreetly and remain in room until the doctor/nurse has finished the examination.
- The chaperone will normally attend inside the curtain at the head of the examination couch and watch the procedure if practical. They should be introduced by name.
- To prevent embarrassment, the chaperone should not enter into conversation with you or the doctor/nurse unless requested to do so, or make any mention of the consultation afterwards.
- If you do not want a chaperone, this will be recorded in your notes that the offer was made and declined.
- The chaperone must be prepared to raise concerns if they are concerned about the doctor’s behaviour or actions.