Table of Contents
International Journal of Family Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 768461, 6 pages
Research Article

The Attitudes and Practices of General Practitioners about the Use of Chaperones in Melbourne, Australia

Department of General Practice, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC 3168, Australia

Received 4 April 2012; Revised 31 May 2012; Accepted 9 July 2012

Academic Editor: Ruth Kalda

Copyright © 2012 Oliver van Hecke and Kay M. Jones. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. To consider the use of medical chaperones during certain clinical examinations is important whether one practises as a specialist, nurse, medical student, or generalist. Chaperones have been used by doctors conducting intimate examinations for many years but their true extent remains largely unknown. Until recently, there was no national guidance in Australia. Aim. To explore the attitudes and practices of general practitioners (GP) regarding their use of chaperones in urban Melbourne, Australia. Method. Qualitative two focus groups involving seventeen GPs from two locations. Discussions were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim and analysed. Results. Common themes and subthemes emerged which were grouped into three main areas: (a) practitioner-related, (b) patient-related and (c) practice related. Discussion. This is the first study from an Australian primary care perspective to gauge the attitudes and experiences of GPs on their use of chaperones. It will provide vital information to inform the next step of extending this research to a national GP audience. From an international perspective, this study provides an excellent template for other primary care clinicians to conduct research in this important field of doctor-patient relationship.