Exclusive: MDDUS backs new GMC patient chaperones advice for GPs

More precise GMC advice regarding the use of chaperones can help reduce the number of doctors who face investigation because of accusations made following intimate examinations, according to the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS).

Dr Anthea Martin: 'The updated GMC guidance supports and protects the doctor.'
Dr Anthea Martin: 'The updated GMC guidance supports and protects the doctor.'

The guidance Intimate Examinations and Chaperones is part of the updated edition of the GMC’s Good Medical Practice launched today, which comes into effect 22 April.

New guidance advises chaperones should ‘stay for the whole examination and be able to see what the doctor is doing, if practicable’.

The MDDUS says some cases have resulted in GMC hearings that could have been avoided had a chaperone been present for an exam.

Dr Anthea Martin, MDDUS joint head of medical division, said: ‘The updated GMC guidance supports and protects the doctor. For example, we have had cases where doctors have been accused of inappropriately touching a patient after a chaperone had left the consultation. These accusations would have been avoided for doctors following the new advice.’

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: ‘Every doctor in the UK will receive a copy of the updated version of Good medical practice.

‘These standards are the rock on which good practice is founded – and they are reflected every day in the high quality care delivered by doctors across the UK. We expect all doctors to meet these standards and we will take action to protect patients whenever they are not met. 

‘This guidance has never been more vital or relevant – the Mid-Staffs Inquiry has shown how important it is for all health professionals to understand and accept their responsibilities for patient care – Good medical practice spells this out for doctors and they will now have to show, through their annual appraisal, that they are meeting the required standards.’

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