Background

In situations where healthcare professionals are required to examine or perform procedures on patients, particularly during intimate examinations, there is always a danger of problems occurring if nobody else is present to witness the procedure. Allegations and cases of inappropriate behaviour and even abuse have been reported and health professionals are at an increased risk of their actions being misconstrued or misrepresented if they conduct examinations where no other person is present. In addition, some patients may feel safer and more secure if they are accompanied and if there is a witness to the actions of the healthcare professional.

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