All patients are entitled to have a chaperone present for any consultation, examination or procedure where they consider one is appropriate or required. The chaperone may be a family member or a friend, but on occasions a formal chaperone, a member of staff specially trained in this role, may be preferred.
Patients are advised to ask for a chaperone if required, at the time of booking an appointment, so that arrangements can be made and the appointment is not delayed. However, if the request is not made until the time of the appointment, the Practice will always do its utmost to provide a formal chaperone if the patient has not brought a friend or relative with them.
On occasions, a doctor or nurse may also request a chaperone to be present. This should be discussed with the patient in advance of the appointment, if at all possible.
All staff are aware of and have received appropriate information in relation to this Chaperone Policy.
All the nurses and health care assistants are trained chaperones; they all understand their role and responsibilities and are competent to perform that role.
There is no common definition of a chaperone and their role varies considerably depending on the needs of the patient, the healthcare professional and the examination being carried out.
Their role can be considered in any of the following areas:
- Emotional comfort and reassurance to patients
- Assist in examination (e.g. during IUCD insertion)
- Assist in undressing
- Act as interpreter
- Protection to the healthcare professional against allegations / attack)
More information can be found on the chaperone policy leaflet.
Consultations involving intimate examinations
Chaperones are most often required or requested where a male examiner is carrying out an intimate examination or procedure on a female patient, but the designation of the chaperone will depend on the role expected of them, whether participating in the procedure or providing a supportive role.
Healthcare professionals should note that they are at an increased risk of their actions being misconstrued or misrepresented, if they conduct intimate examinations where no other person is present.