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Chaperoning in genitourinary medicine clinics
  1. K E Rogstad
  1. On behalf of the RCP Joint Specialty Committee on Genitourinary Medicine

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    The Joint Specialty Committee for Genitourinary Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians has produced guidance on chaperoning in response to the General Medical Council (GMC) guidance on doctors performing intimate examinations.1

    The definition of intimate examinations includes examination of the breasts, genitalia, or rectum. It recommends that all patients undergoing such an examination be offered a chaperone, who may be a friend or relative. The GMC guidance is predominantly concerned with the comfort and protection of patients, while also serving a secondary role to protect doctors from false allegations. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has published its own updated guidelines based on the GMC recommendations.2

    Doctors have a duty to protect patients, and implementation of the GMC guidelines could also protect staff undertaking such examinations who might otherwise find themselves accused of inappropriate behaviour. Even if allegations are totally unfounded it is difficult, if not impossible, to refute them if a chaperone was not present. Genitourinary medicine clinics cannot ignore the national recommendations and the issue of insufficient funding should not influence best practice.

    Potentially, there may be far reaching implications for the specialty not only for working practices but also for cost/staffing issues. However, patients may …

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