The use of chaperones for intimate examinations: the patient perspective based on an anonymous questionnaire
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The objective of the study was to identify genitourinary (GU) medicine patients' opinions concerning the offer and provision of chaperones and to audit adherence to clinic policy. An anonymous questionnaire was completed by patients after their examination in two GU medicine clinics in central and north London. In total, 750 patients were given questionnaires, of which 627 (84%) were completed and returned. Less than half (45%) reported that they had been offered a chaperone. There was an association between patient gender/orientation and examiner gender/role for both offer and acceptance. Those likely to be offered (75%, 18/24) and accept (93%, 14/15) were women being examined by a man. Those least likely to be offered (27%, 32/120) or accept (3%, 1/31) were men who have sex with men. The offer of a chaperone was significantly greater for younger patients and those from Asian or black ethnic groups. Acceptance was highest among Asian patients. Most patients (88%, 530/602) did not want a chaperone for future examinations. Our conclusion was that most patients do not want a chaperone in the GU medicine clinic. Those who do would prefer for one to be offered, rather than for it to be routine. This supports the recommendation that all patients should be offered a chaperone for intimate examinations.
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