The Rivermead Gate Medical Practice 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.
A chaperone is an independent person, appropriately trained, whose role is to independently observe the examination/procedure undertaken by the doctor/health professional to assist the appropriate doctor-patient relationship. At our Practice this will usually be one of our reception team.
The GMC guidance in Good Medical Practice 2013 indicates:
A chaperone should usually be a health professional and you must be satisfied that the chaperone will: a. be sensitive and respect the patient’s dignity and confidentiality b. reassure the patient if they show signs of distress or discomfort c. be familiar with the procedures involved in a routine intimate examination d. stay for the whole examination and be able to see what the doctor is doing, if practical e. be prepared to raise concerns if they are concerned about the doctor’s behaviour or actions.
All patients are entitled to have a chaperone present for any consultation, examination or procedure where they feel one is required. Wherever possible we would ask you to make this request at the time of booking appointment so that arrangements can be made and your 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. However occasionally it may be necessary to reschedule your appointment.
Your healthcare professional may also require a chaperone to be present for certain consultations in accordance with recommendations from our regulated bodies (GMC).
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.