Chaperone Policy


For most patients, respect, explanation, consent and privacy take precedence over the need for a chaperone. The presence of a chaperone does not remove the need for adequate explanation and courtesy and neither can it provide full assurance that the procedure or examination is conducted appropriately.

It is important that children and young people are provided with chaperones. The GMC guidance states that a relative or friend of the patient is not an impartial observer and so would not usually be a suitable chaperone. There may be circumstances when a young person does not wish to have a chaperone. The reasons for this should be made clear and recorded in the patients records.

All staff must be aware that chaperones are used to protect both patients and staff. All staff undertaking chaperone training must have a completed DBS (criminal records) check.

All patients should routinely be offered a chaperone during any intimate consultation, examination or procedure. This does not mean that every consultation needs to be interrupted in order to ask if the patient wants a chaperone to be present. The offer of chaperone should be made clear to the patient before any procedure, ideally at the time of booking the appointment, but if this has not occurred then patients can be asked when the examination is suggested.

For children and young people, their parents, relatives and carers should be made aware of the policy and why this is important.

For patients with mental health problems that affect capacity it may be appropriate for a familiar individual, carer or family member to be present but this should not replace the need for an independent chaperone. Adults with learning difficulties or mental health problems who resist any intimate examination or procedure should be deemed to be refusing consent and the procedure should be abandoned.

Where a patient is offered but does not want a chaperone, it is important that the practice has recorded that the offer was made and declined or accepted.

If the patient has requested a chaperone and none is available at that time, the patient must be given the opportunity to reschedule their appointment within a reasonable timeframe. If the seriousness of the condition would dictate that a delay is inappropriate, then this should be explained to the patient and recorded in their notes. A decision to continue or otherwise should be reached jointly.

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