Chaperones Overview

If you would like a chaperone at your appointment please let the receptionist know when you book the appointment.

For appointments involving intimate examinations the clinician will offer you the choice of having a chaperone present.

What is a chaperone?

A chaperone is an impartial observer present during an intimate examination of a patient. They will usually be a health professional who is familiar with the procedures involved in the examination. The chaperone will usually be the same sex as the patient.

Intimate examinations

Intimate examinations are examinations of the breast, genitalia and rectum. However, some patients may regard any examination in which the doctor needs to touch or be very close to them as intimate. Example: examination of the fundi using an ophthalmoscope in a darkened room.

Chaperone's role

A chaperone is there for the patient. Their function is to:

  • reassure the patient if they experience distress
  • protect the patient's dignity and confidentiality at all times
  • offer emotional support at an embarrassing or uncomfortable time
  • facilitate communication, especially if there is a language barrier.

A chaperone also provides a safeguard for both patient and doctor, and can discourage unfounded allegations of improper behaviour.