n South African Medical Journal - Professionalism in the intimate examination : how healthcare practitioners feel about having chaperones present during an intimate consultation and examination : research

Volume 103, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Despite the clear prohibition against sexual relations with one's patients, complaints of a sexual nature against practitioners registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) have been increasing. The HPCSA does not provide ethical guidelines regarding the use of a chaperone during intimate examinations.

() To ascertain how a group of medical practitioners felt about the presence of chaperones during the consultation and intimate examination of patients; () to determine whether they currently engage the services of chaperones; () to assess how they felt about consensual sexual relationships between medical practitioners and their patients.
A self-administered, questionnaire-based survey was distributed to gynaecologists and medical practitioners.
There was a 43% response rate with 72% of practitioners in favour of using a chaperone during an intimate examination, although only 27% always do so. Most practitioners felt that consensual sexual relationships with patients are unacceptable; 83% felt that ethical guidelines on this topic were needed.
The HPCSA should develop guidelines on the use of chaperones to assist practitioners. With medical litigation increasing, using chaperones will benefit patients and practitioners.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error