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The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has defined a chaperone as, 'a person (usually the same sex as the patient) who is present as a safeguard for the person receiving care and the healthcare professional.'. GPHC Sexual Boundaries. This was due to the increased frequency of pharmacist and patient contact so the GPhC published this 'Guidance on maintaining clear sexual boundaries' (the guidance) in February 2012, revised guidance was issued in May 2017. The guidance is aimed at pharmacists and technicians and explains the need to maintain professional boundaries, why this is important and how to avoid any possible breach.

In a GP practice and hospital setting chaperones are more common place and are most likely to be used for more intimate examinations and as such, some may feel that chaperones are not relevant to community pharmacy, as these examinations are not performed. However, as part of their role, pharmacists will have to touch patients or come into close contact with them, to diagnose minor ailments or administer a vaccination, for example. Pharmacists should also bear in mind the need for a chaperone policy when considering any future service developments that may involve physical contact or a private discussion in the consultation area.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) also released their 'Briefing on Chaperone Policy' (the briefing) providing a framework and guidance for pharmacists when considering whether to implement a chaperone policy.

A chaperone policy and the provision of chaperones are not mandatory for pharmacy but are considered best practice and can evidence compliance of the following GPhC Standards for registered pharmacies:

  • Principle 1.8 - children and vulnerable adults are safeguarded.
  • Principle 3.2 - premises protect the privacy, dignity and confidentiality of patients and the public who receive pharmacy services.


By the end of this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the role of a chaperone.
  • Explain why chaperones may be offered or requested.
  • List what is required in a chaperone policy.
  • Understand when and how to raise concerns.