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The use of a chaperone in obstetrical and gynaecological practice.The aim of this study was to assess the use of a chaperone in obstetrical and gynaecological practice in Ireland and to explore patients' opinions. Two questionnaires were designed; one for patients and the other one was sent to 145 gynaecologists in Ireland. One hundred and fifty two women took part in this survey of whom 74 were gynaecological and 78 were obstetric patients. Ninety five (65%) patients felt no need for a chaperone during a vaginal examination (VE) by a male doctor. On the other hand 34 (23%) participating women would request a chaperone if being examined by a female doctor. Among clinicians 116 (80%) responded by returning the questionnaire. Overall 60 (52%) always used a chaperone in public practice, in contrast to 24 (27%) in private practice. The study demonstrated that most patients do not wish to have a chaperone during a VE but a small proportion would still request one regardless of the examiner's gender. Patients should be offered the choice of having a chaperone and their opinion should be respected and documented.