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The GMC has guidance at:

Wherever possible, you should offer the patient the security of having an impartial observer (a ‘chaperone') present during an intimate examination. This applies whether or not you are the same gender as the patient.

A chaperone does not have to be medically qualified but will ideally:

In some circumstances, a member of practice staff, or a relative or friend of the patient may be an acceptable chaperone. If either you or the patient does not wish the examination to proceed 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 chaperone (or an alternative chaperone) will be available, if this is compatible with the patient's best interests.  You should record any discussion about chaperones and its outcome. If a chaperone is present, you should record that fact and make a note of their identity. If the patient does not want a chaperone, you should record that the offer was made and declined.

It is particularly important to maintain a professional boundary when examining patients: intimate examinations can be embarrassing or distressing for patients. Whenever you examine a patient you should be sensitive to what they may perceive as intimate. This is likely to include examinations of breasts, genitalia and rectum, but could also include any examination where it is necessary to touch or even be close to the patient.

Intimate Examinations

Before conducting an intimate examination you should:

During the examination you should:

You must follow the guidance in Consent: patients and doctors making decisions together..

By highlighting some of the issues associated with intimate examinations, this guidance does not intend to deter you from carrying them out when necessary. Following this guidance and making detailed and accurate records at the time of examination, or shortly afterwards, will help you to justify your decisions and actions. 

Lunch & Learn

Please see our Lunch and Learn Training Resource on Chaperone Training

DBS & Training

There is an expectation that formal chaperones should have undertaken training and will have had a DBS check.  For more information, go to the CQC's guidance at:

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Updated on Sunday, 16 August 2020 3199 views