RCGP: You can now perform intimate examinations remotely
But with fully informed consent and water-tight record-keeping
For some time there has been a noticeable absence of guidance on intimate examinations undertaken remotely. But now we have clear guidance from the RCGP with some key messages:
- An “intimate” image can be genitalia or any other area as defined by the patient.
- “Image” includes recorded and live videos, screenshots and photographs.
- The patient should be contacted before sending an image to obtain consent. You will then need to inform the patient what will happen to the image, where and for how long it will be stored and who will see it. Explain why the image is needed, and what alternatives are available.
- A video consultation does not negate the need for an appropriate chaperone, who could log in remotely, or be in the same room as you.
- Intimate images of children can be gained where essential for clinical care. Comprehensive consent and justification must be rigorously recorded. Principles of consent mirror those for face to face consultations.
Intimate images are permitted with fully informed consent and water-tight record-keeping. It is essential to explain what you are doing and justify your reasons for using those images.