We attach the highest importance to ensuring that a culture that values patient privacy and dignity exists within the organisation.
The aim of this policy is to safeguard patients and staff during episodes of care provided within the clinic to provide a guide to best practice in conjunction with Professional Codes of Conduct and policies such as Consent to Examination, Privacy and Dignity, Safeguarding policies.
This policy is in line with: GMC Chaperone Guidance
Chaperones should always be considered where a health professional is carrying out an examination and should always be present where the examination / procedure is to be carried out on a minor or a person who lacks capacity.
All patients are entitled to have a chaperone present for any consultation, examination, or procedure where they feel one is required.
Patients also have the right to decline the offer of a chaperone.
There are some care interventions that should only be carried out in the presence of a chaperone and practitioners are strongly recommended to do so. Not involving a chaperone should be a decision made after careful consideration and discussion with the patient.
It is the policy that this decision must be recorded clearly in the patient’s notes, including the rationale.
All patients must give verbal consent to all intimate procedures and offered a chaperone for all intimate procedures.
A relative or friend of the patient is not an impartial observer and so would not usually be a suitable chaperone, but you should comply with a reasonable request to have such a person present as well as a chaperone.
A chaperone should usually be a health professional and you must be satisfied that the chaperone will:
- Be sensitive and respect the patient’s dignity and confidentiality.
- Reassure the patient if they show signs of distress or discomfort.
- Be familiar with the procedures involved in a routine intimate examination.
- Stay for the whole examination and be able to see what the doctor is doing, if practical
- Be prepared to raise concerns if they are concerned about the doctor’s behaviour or actions.
If either you or the patient does not want the examination to go ahead without a chaperone present, or if either of you is uncomfortable with the choice of chaperone, you may offer to delay the examination to a later date when a suitable chaperone will be available, as long as the delay would not adversely affect the patient’s health.
The chaperone is responsible for instructing the practitioner to stop if at any time inappropriate conduct is witnessed. This must be reported immediately. A full report and investigation will be instigated.
The same process must be followed if the patient raises a concern, regardless of whether or not the chaperone agrees.
The chaperone must always act as the patient advocate.
Chaperone presence should be recorded in the patient’s notes.
Role of Chaperone
- Provide emotional comfort and reassurance to patients.
- Maintaining the patient’s dignity, by only exposing the area requiring examination/treatment by using clothing, gowns, sheets
- To act as a witness of the continuing consent of the patient to the treatment
- Have agreement from the patient to be present at the consultation.
- Have the ability and mental capacity to act as a chaperone.
- Introduce themselves to the clinic staff and explain the purpose of their presence.
- Maintain the confidentiality and comply with clinic policies.
A record and details of such event will be kept in the patient’ notes.