The GP or nurse should explain why the procedure or examination is necessary and what it will involve in a way that you can understand. You should know what to expect, including any pain and discomfort and should be able to ask questions.

Your verbal consent will be requested prior to all examinations of an intimate nature and will be recorded on your patient record.

You may be offered a chaperone, regardless of your gender or that of the doctor or nurse treating you.

Chaperones should usually be healthcare professionals. They should:

  • Respect your dignity and confidentiality
  • Reassure you if you show signs of discomfort or distress
  • Be familiar with the procedures involved
  • Stay for the whole examination and be able to see the procedure taking place (if practical)
  • Be prepared to raise concerns if necessary
  • Have appropriate training

Relatives and friends are not impartial and cannot therefore act as chaperones. However, they may attend in addition to the chaperone.

If a suitable chaperone is not available at the time of the examination, or you and/or the health professional is unhappy with the choice of chaperone, the examination can be delayed as long as it does not affect your health.

If you prefer to be examined without a chaperone but the healthcare professional disagrees, the healthcare professional will explain the reasons for having a chaperone present. The examination can be undertaken by another healthcare professional who does not require a chaperone, providing the delay does not affect your health.

The GP/Nurse is at liberty to ask for a chaperone to be present if they feel the situation warrants it. Should you refuse, the GP/Nurse may inform you that they are unable to perform the examination unless a third person is present.