The 2023 version of the SoR Intimate Examinations and Chaperone Policy has relevance for the entire diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy workforce.
The document is also of equal relevance to all patients and screening clients regardless of gender, to practitioners and students, and it encompasses all forms of diagnostic imaging, radiotherapy planning and treatment. It has been developed from advice published by the Society of Radiographers and incorporates guidance published by the General Medical Council and The Royal College of Radiologists.
The guidance has been designed to be used in conjunction with policies set out by local trusts, health boards independent providers (or other employing authorities) on intimate examinations and the use of chaperones but not to override them.
These local policies should not contain arbitrary exclusions or assumptions based on gender and will provide guidance on respecting individual patient’s needs regardless of factors such as ethnicity, gender, religious or cultural background, previous experiences or age.
Many complaints relating to sexual assault in healthcare arise from misunderstandings, and the Medical Defence Union has published helpful advice on protecting against sexual assault allegations and on the use of chaperones. Taking measures outlined by the MDU will lessen the risk of receiving a complaint and ensure that patients receive the best care possible.
The new trans section reaffirms that these patients should be offered equality of access to services, as stated in the Equality Act 2010 guidance, however, they can have additional needs and considerations when attending for intimate examinations. The section provides definitions of key terms to help radiographers provide person-centred communication and care.
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