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The Mandatory Training Group is the leading UK provider of accredited statutory and mandatory training courses for all sectors, including health and social care, education, local government, private and charity sectors. We have supported over one million learners to reach their potential through e-learning courses and qualifications using our interactive online learning portal.
A chaperone is an adult who is present during an intimate examination of a patient. A chaperone is there to protect both the patient and the doctor or midwife from allegations of inappropriate behaviour. They may also be asked to assist the doctor or midwife during the examination.
Our Online Chaperone for Primary Care Training Courses are intended for those who might take the chaperoning role primarily, for example, General Practitioners (GPs), health care assistants (HCAs), nurses, allied health professionals and other members of the broader health care team who are involved in chaperoning patients as part of their role.
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Here at The Mandatory Training Group, we receive many enquiries about Chaperone for Primary Care training courses. We have listed some of these frequently asked questions.
A chaperone in primary care is an adult who is present during an intimate examination of a patient. A chaperone is there to protect both the patient and the doctor or midwife from allegations of inappropriate behaviour. Their assistance is also required by the doctor or midwife during the examination.
Chaperones primary duty is to ensure the health, safety and education of everyone in their care, whilst ensuring no one is discriminated against.
A 'formal' chaperone implies a clinical health care professional, such as a nurse or a healthcare assistant. This individual will have a specific role to play in terms of the consultation. And this role should be made clear to both the patient and the chaperone.
To acknowledge a patient's vulnerability and to ensure a patient's dignity is preserved at all times. A chaperone for primary care may assist the health professional in the examination. For example, the chaperone may assist with undressing/dressing patients as required and provides emotional comfort and reassurance to the patient.
A chaperone may be provided to help protect and enhance the patient's comfort, safety, privacy, security, and dignity during sensitive examinations or procedures. The chaperone is frequently also present to assist the health professional with the examination, process or care.
Chaperones are most often required or requested where a male examiner is carrying out an intimate examination or procedure on a female patient. Complaints involving allegations of improper examination by a doctor are infrequent.
It is good practice for a health organisation to offer all patients a chaperone for any consultation, examination or procedure where the patient feels one is required. This offer can be made through several routes, including prominently placed posters, practice leaflets and verbal information before the actual consultation.
There are two types of chaperones, formal and informal chaperone.
Patients feel reassured by the presence of a familiar person, and this request in almost all cases should be accepted. A situation where this may not be appropriate is where a child is asked to act as a chaperone for a parent undergoing an intimate examination. They may not necessarily be relied upon to act as a witness to the conduct or continuing consent of the procedure. However, suppose the child is providing comfort to the parent and will not be exposed to unpleasant experiences. In that case, it may be acceptable for them to be present. It's inappropriate to expect an informal chaperone to take an active part in the examination or to witness the procedure directly.
A formal chaperone implies a clinical health professional, such as a nurse, or a specifically trained non-clinical staff member, such as a receptionist. This individual will have a specific role to play in terms of the consultation, and this role should be made clear to both the patient and the person undertaking the chaperone role. It may include assisting with undressing or assisting in the procedure being carried out.
The presence of a chaperone during intimate examinations may also help protect doctors themselves from false allegations of abuse. Even so, the MDU is aware of cases where doctors have been accused of unprofessional conduct or sexualised behaviour by patients despite the presence of a chaperone.
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.
Whenever possible, but not required, the chaperone should be the gender that the patient feels most comfortable. A chaperone may also assist the health professional or provide support to the patient with personal hygiene, toileting or undressing/dressing requirements if requested or needed by the patient.
Family members or friends of an adult patient should not be expected to undertake any chaperoning role in normal circumstances. A family member may be present during sensitive examinations or procedures if it is the expressed desire of the patient but should not serve as a chaperone for this policy.
A chaperone has the right to stop a sensitive procedure, examination or care if they feel that the health professional's behaviour is inappropriate or unacceptable. A chaperone who witnesses indecent or improper conduct on the part of the health professional will immediately report this to their manager or another senior manager, even if they did not stop the procedure while it was ongoing.
A chaperone acts in loco parentis (in place of a parent). It should exercise the care which a good parent would be expected to give those children.
Although a chaperone does not have to be medically qualified, they must be a health professional, aware of their duty of confidentiality and prepared to reassure the patient.
A chaperone will protect healthcare professionals against unfounded allegations of improper behaviour made by the patient. In cases, the presence of the chaperone should be confined to the physical examination part of the consultation or procedure unless the patient requests.
The chaperone should usually be a trained health professional. Friends or family members are not regarded as impartial. However, doctors should comply with 'a reasonable request' to have them present as well as a chaperone.
Practice nurses are the most commonly used chaperones (78%) with family members/friends (47%) and non-clinical staff (43%) listed as alternatives. In 60% of cases, the chaperone is stationed beside the patient, whilst in 36% the chaperone remains outside the curtain.
When a chaperone refused, a healthcare professional cannot usually insist that one is present. However, there may be cases where the practitioner may feel unhappy to proceed. For example, where there is a significant risk of the patient displaying unpredictable behaviour, or making false accusations. In this case, the practitioner must make his/her own decision and carefully document this with the rationale and details of any procedure undertaken. It may include refusing to meet with the patient alone.
If the patient has requested a chaperone and none is available at that time, the patient must be allowed to reschedule their appointment within a reasonable timeframe (this may include simply waiting in the clinic or practice until a member of staff arrives on duty). Suppose the seriousness of the condition would dictate that a delay is inappropriate. In that case, this should be explained to the patient and recorded in their notes.
This online Chaperon for Primary Care training course should be completed by those who work in health and social care services, including:
On successful completion of each of the Online Chaperone for Primary Care courses modules, you may download, save, and print a quality assured continuing professional development (CPD) certificate. Our CPD certificates are recognised internationally and can be used to provide evidence for compliance and audit.
The CPD Certification Service (CPDUK)accredits all of our statutory and mandatory training courses as conforming to universally accepted Continuous Professional Development (CPD) guidelines.
The Mandatory Training Group is the leading UK provider of accredited statutory and mandatory training courses for all sectors, including health, safety and wellbeing, social care, education, local government, and many more.