Why is a Chaperone Needed?
Every GP practice should have a chaperone policy in place for the benefit of both patients and staff.
All medical consultations, examinations and investigations are potentially distressing. Patients can find examinations, investigations or photography involving the breasts, genitalia or rectum particularly intrusive (these examinations are collectively referred to as 'intimate examinations'). Also consultations involving dimmed lights, when patients have to undress or if they need to be.
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.
All staff must be aware that chaperones are to protect both patients and staff.
A formal chaperone implies a clinical health professional, such as a nurse. In a GP practice it can also mean a specifically trained non-clinical staff member, such as a receptionist. This individual has a specific role in the consultation and this should be made clear to both the patient and the person undertaking the chaperone role.
Members of staff who undertake a formal chaperone role must have been trained so that they develop the competencies required.
Clinical staffs who undertake a chaperone role will usually already have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check If non-clinical staff act as chaperones, they will normally require a DBS check - whether they do and at what level will depend on their specific duties as a chaperone and the con-tact they have with patients, particularly children and vulnerable adults.
All staff should have an understanding of the role of the chaperone and the procedures for raising concerns.
If you need a chaperone please request at time of booking an appointment.