Can GPs Carry Out Intimate Examinations

Can GPs Carry Out Intimate Examinations

Can GPs Carry Out Intimate Examinations

When we visit our GP we do so knowing they are highly skilled and will provide us with the best advice to address our illness. We know that in consulting with the GP we can speak in confidence. We trust them and believe they are using their best endeavours to help us.   

The General Medical Council (GMC) require GPs to be honest and open, and to act with integrity. Importantly, it is said of GPs that they should “never abuse your patient’s trust in you or the public’s trust in the profession”.

This is the standard to which all GPs work although unfortunately there will be occasions when GPs cross the line, abuse their position, abuse their power, and manipulate a patient for their own sexual gratification.

This is what the prosecution alleged in the case of Dr Mannish Shah, a GP who practised at the Mawney Medical Centre in Romford. He was convicted in 2018 and again in 2019 on various counts of indecent assault. It was specifically alleged in the 2019 trial that Dr Shah breached guidelines on the use of chaperones during intimate examinations.

I cannot get to see a female GP

A report in The Times in December 2019 highlighted the fact that more than a million women in England do not have access to a regular female GP. Understandably, for a variety of reasons, including those who have had an unsatisfactory experience with a male GP, many women will only want to see a female GP. 

Overall, there are slightly more female GPs than male doctors, but in some areas, as many as three in four GPs are male. NHS figures show more than 600 practices, just under 1 in 10, have regular male doctors only.

I had an intimate examination that did not feel right.

If you have had an intimate examination that did not feel right, you may wish to raise your concern with the GP surgery. If you consider the intimate examination was not appropriate or unnecessary, we may be able to help you investigate whether the GP acted properly. Call 0333 123 9099, email or use the enquiry form to request a call back.

Guidance to GPs when carrying out an intimate examination

The General Medical Council provide guidance to GPs in respect of this most delicate area of their practice. The General Medical Council recognise that intimate examinations can be embarrassing or distressing for patients. Therefore, it is a requirement of the GP that when they examine a patient, they should be sensitive to what they may think of as intimate. It is specifically stated that intimate examinations include examinations of the breasts, genitalia and rectum, but may also include any examination where it is necessary to touch or even be close to the patient.

The guidance states that before a GP conducts an intimate examination they should:

  • Explain to the patient why an examination is necessary and give the patient an opportunity to ask questions
  • explain what the examination will involve, in a way the patient can understand, so that the patient has a clear idea of what to expect, including any pain or discomfort
  • get the patient’s permission before the examination and record that the patient has given it
  • offer the patient a chaperone
  • if dealing with a child or young person the GP must assess their capacity to consent to such an examination. If they lack capacity, consent should be sought from their parent.
  • Give the patient privacy to undress and dress and keep them covered as much as possible to maintain their dignity. The GP is not to help the patient remove clothing unless they have been asked, or whether they have checked with the patient that they require help.

During the examination the GP should explain what they going to do, before they do it and, if this is different from what the patient has previously been told, explain why and seek the patient’s permission. The GP should stop the examination if the patient asks. Any discussion during examination should be kept relevant. Importantly, the GP should not make unnecessary personal comments.

What can I do if I think there was something wrong about the intimate examination?

Talk to your GP and seek an explanation. If you are still unsure, speak to someone else at the surgery.

If you think there is something particularly wrong with the intimate examination and would like advice about what you can do, contact us on 0333 123 9099, email or use the enquiry form to request a call back

What our Clients have said about what we do

IBB Claims Solicitors have acted for many adults and children across the country, who have been sexually assaulted or sexually abused. We do not reveal their identity but are grateful for many of them who have expressed their gratitude for our support, in enabling them to obtain justice. We listen to our clients and fight for them. This is what some of our clients have had to say.

“My experience with IBB Solicitors was excellent from the first phone call right until the end. They don’t give up. They fight all the way to get you justice. Malcolm Underhill took my case and ran with it…”

“Precise information to me on time and at all times. Really felt they were getting the best result for me”.

“Malcolm Underhill-professional, knowledgeable, and sensitive to my needs during this distressing case. A joy to work with.”

"We will be forever grateful for your kind and sensitive handling of (the) case and I will, of course, have no hesitation in recommending you and IBB to any other unfortunate individual
should we come across them."

“I would recommend IBB Solicitors as they were very clear from the beginning as to the process, timescale and commitment required to obtain a positive outcome. They were also instrumental in providing the platform for me to work through the experiences I had been through by putting me in touch with the right professional persons”

(Malcolm Underhill) “always very considerate, supportive and encouraging from the outset and always had a positive opinion that I could work through this and come out with a more positive mind frame. I truly believe Malcolm had as much interest in my personal well-being as he did in obtaining the compensation fee. Without Malcolm’s consistent support and guidance to me and my parents, I am sure I would not be in the positive position I find myself in today”.

“My experience with IBB solicitors was fantastic, my case was a very sensitive one dating back to my childhood but was dealt with in a way that I could only have wished for”.

IBB solicitors are recommended because of providing “concise and precise information to me on time and at all times. Really felt they were getting the best result for me”.

(Malcolm Underhill) - “professional, knowledgeable and sensitive to my needs during this distressing case. A joy to work with”.

Chambers and Partners also record that Simon Pimlott "communicates effectively and swiftly" and "works in a highly professional and client-focused way," according to commentators.

How do I make a compensation claim?

If you would like to talk to an expert, with no obligation, as to whether you or a family member may be entitled to compensation as a result of an intimate examination, call 0333 123 9099, email or use the enquiry form to request a call back.

We will ask you to provide some brief details and within a few minutes we are likely to be able to tell you if you have prospects of making a successful claim for medical negligence compensation.