Background According to the General Medical Council (GMC) intimate examination guidelines 2013, the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV and the Royal College of Nursing guidelines, a chaperone should be offered when conducting an intimate examination. The GMC guidance supports clinicians who do not want to perform an intimate examination unchaperoned. The presence of a chaperone is considered essential in The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists clinical governance advice, January 2015.
Aim A retrospective audit was conducted in our integrated sexual health clinic to see if a chaperone was being used for intimate examinations according to the GMC guidelines. Method: 100 cases were identified in January 2015 and a re-audit was conducted in July 2015.
Results In January 2015, 70% of patients accepted an examination. In 9% of these cases the offer of a chaperone was not documented. 44% declined a chaperone and 54% accepted. In July 2015: 63% of patients accepted an examination. In 14% of these cases the offer of a chaperone was not documented. 54% declined a chaperone, 40% accepted.
Conclusion Documentation of the offer of a chaperone has worsened. In July 2015, the majority of staff are performing an intimate examination unchaperoned, as patients decline the offer. In order to reduce the risk of false accusation against clinicians and nurses during an intimate examination, it is essential we follow the GMC guidance and ensure a chaperone is present for all intimate examinations.
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