The intimate examination--chaperone or not?
Pub Date: 01/01/2013
Publication: Name: South African Medical Journal Publisher: South African Medical Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2013 South African Medical Association ISSN: 0256-9574
Issue: Date: Jan, 2013 Source Volume: 103 Source Issue: 1
Accession Number: 312828752
Full Text: A survey of gynaecologists and GPs by Guidozzi et al. (8) reveals that a majority of practitioners wisely opt for the presence of a chaperone when undertaking intimate examinations. Given that the Medical Protection Society reports that practitioners are rarely accused of sexual impropriety if a chaperone has been present, it is surely foolish of a third of doctors to deem this unnecessary. And the gender of the patient should not offer any false sense of security, as complaints are received by the MPS against practitioners of the same gender as the patient. While the Health Professions Council of South Africa and international ethics codes and guidelines clearly prohibit sexual relationships between doctors and patients, this has not prevented complaints against practitioners in South Africa. The authors suggest that the time has come for a stipulation regarding use of chaperones to be included in the HPCSA Guidelines for Reproductive Health, and widely publicised, to bring this country's ethical standards in line with international clinical standards such as those of the UK and USA.

(8.) Guidozzi Y, Gardner J, Dhai A. Professionalism in the intimate examination: How healthcare practitioners feel about having chaperones present during an intimate consultation and examination. S Afr Med J 2013;103(1):25-27. []
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