Intended for healthcare professionals


Chaperones for genital examination

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 06 November 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1266

Chaperones should always be present

  1. Michael Croft, general medical practitioner
  1. West Herts Community NHS Trust PMS Pilot, Gateways Surgery, Shenley, Hertfordshire WD7 9LL
  2. The Doctors' House, Marlow, Buckinghamshire SL7 1DN
  3. Ella Gordon Unit, St Mary's Hospital, Portsmouth PO3 6AF
  4. North Mersey Community NHS Trust, Liverpool L2 5SF

    EDITOR—Bignell states in his editorial that “it is difficult not to proceed with a clinically indicated examination if the patient declines a chaperone, providing the physician feels comfortable in this situation.”1 I would say that this reads in much the same way as “it is difficult not to proceed with sexual intercourse if the man declines to use a condom, providing the woman feels comfortable in this situation.” The analogy is valid, I believe, as sexually transmitted disease (including HIV infection and unwanted pregnancy) carries much the same mortality as allegations of sexual assault, to patient and doctor respectively, however comfortable they may feel at the time.

    If clinical governance and risk management are to mean anything it surely must be that entirely preventable disasters such as allegations of sexual assault, exclusively associated with the performance of intimate but unchaperoned examinations, are consigned to history This should be done by a corporate policy that requires …

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