Background: Medical chaperones (MC) are underutilised. The influence of Islamic culture on the use of MC is not known.
Aim: To examine physicians’ use and perception of MC in Islamic culture.
Setting: A major tertiary care hospital in Saudi Arabia.
Methods: 315 self-administered questionnaires were distributed to attendees of grand rounds of 13 departments.
Results: 186 (59%) questionnaires were completed. 64.5% of the respondents were 30–49 years old, 75.8% were men and 31.2% were in training; 79% had a clinic load of under 50 patients per week and 47.8% had postgraduate training (PGT) in an Islamic country. MC were reported to be infrequently (⩽25% of the time) used by 44.1% (69.2% female vs 39% male physicians, p = 0.001; 58.6% in training vs 36.8% attending, p = 0.007; 52.1% PGT in Islamic vs 35.6% in western countries, p = 0.027), offered by 52.7% (78.9% female vs 46.8% male physicians, p<0.001) and requested by 79% of patients. MC were reported to be commonly (>75% of the time) used, offered by physicians and requested by patients by 38.2%, 29% and 7.5% of respondents, respectively. The most frequently cited reasons for not using MC were privacy/confidentiality (36.6%) and understaffing (30.5%). Equal numbers of respondents perceived MC use as a protection for physicians or patients (67.7% and 65.6%, respectively).
Conclusions: MC are underutilised even in Islamic culture, especially among female physicians. Training in western countries is favourably associated with MC use. Underutilisation appears to be related to privacy/confidentiality, understaffing and failure of patients to request a MC.
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▸ Additional supplementary material in appendix A is published online only at http://jme.bmj.com/content/vol35/issue12
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval Ethics approval was granted by the Research Ethics Committee, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Contributors: EAAG and MMH jointly conceived the study and analysed the results, and will act as guarantors. EAAG collected the data and wrote the first draft.
Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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