Chaperone Policy

What is a chaperone?

A chaperone is a third party who oversees what is happening in a medical consultation/examination/investigation in order to protect the patient from inappropriate behaviour and to protect the health professional from allegations of inappropriate behaviour/an attack. Often, a chaperone will help out with other things like helping the patient undress, assisting with the examination or investigation, attending to the patient’s comfort, explaining or interpreting and providing emotional support.

Staff training

All staff at the surgery will have training with respect to the chaperone role. As a result, they will have an understanding of the role of the chaperone and the procedures for raising concerns. Our training includes the following:

  • What is meant by the term chaperone
  • What is an ‘intimate examination’
  • Why chaperones need to be present
  • The rights of the patient
  • Their role and responsibility
  • Policy and mechanism for raising concerns

Protecting patients

All medical consultations, examinations and investigations are potentially distressing. Those involving the breasts, genitalia or rectum particularly intrusive (these examinations are collectively referred to as ‘intimate examination’). Consultations involving dimmed lights, the need for patients to undress or for intensive periods of being touched may make a patient feel vulnerable.  A chaperone can help put the patient at ease and help explain what is happening or going to happen through to them.

Also, chaperones help protect the patient by ensure the health professional does not go beyond what is clinically necessary.

Protecting health professionals

A chaperone oversees what the health professional is doing. In doing so, the chaperone helps protect the health professional from false claims of abuse. A chaperone can help the health professional with their examination by helping prepare the patient and attending to their comfort. Chaperones are present as a safeguard for all parties (patient and practitioners) and as a witness to continuing consent of the procedure.

This organisation 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.  All patients are entitled to have a chaperone present for any consultation, examination or procedure where they feel one is required. This chaperone may be a family member or friend. On occasions a patient may prefer a formal chaperone to be present (i.e. a trained member of staff). Wherever possible, the patient should make this request at the time of booking appointment so that arrangements can be made and that the appointment is not delayed in any way. Where this is not possible, we will endeavour to provide a formal chaperone at the time of request, but it may be necessary to reschedule the appointment. The healthcare professional may also require a chaperone to be present for certain consultations in accordance with our chaperone policy.

Implied consent

One might assume that a patient seeking treatment and attending the surgery appointment is a sort of implied consent to any subsequent necessary examinations. This is not necessarily the case. Before proceeding with an examination, healthcare professionals will always seek to obtain, by word or gesture, some explicit indication that the patient understands the need for examination and agrees to it being carried out. Consent should always be appropriate to the treatment or investigation being carried out.

Last review date: 31 March 2023