NEW guidelines for doctors do not include a code of conduct for the examination of women patients by male practitioners. The omission comes despite a recent court case in which a doctor was acquitted of indecently assaulting six women police recruits. The medical profession agreed the case highlighted the need for male doctors to have a woman present while examining females. But the Medical Council's new professional code of conduct for doctors makes no mention of the use of chaperones either to put women patients at ease or to protect male doctors. The chairman of the council, Professor Rosie Young Tse-tse, said: ''The practice of having a chaperone present is not in the guidelines probably because it is already common practice and taken for granted. ''It is also difficult to make the practice mandatory because there might not always be a female chaperone available.'' In the recent court case the government doctor did not have another female present while examining the police recruits and so there were no witnesses. Professor Young added: ''The first lesson on medical ethics students are taught is that when examining a female patient they must have another woman beside them.'' Medical Council member and Hong Kong Medical Association vice-president Dr Lee Kin-hung argued that guidance for male doctors examining female patients was unnecessary. Dr Lee said: ''In many Western countries there is rarely a chaperone present while a woman is being examined by a male doctor, although the labelling of medicine in those countries is automatic. ''The new code makes it mandatory for doctors to properly label drugs, so we are in line with what is happening elsewhere in the world.'' According to the updated guidelines, a doctor whose mental or physical health is putting patients at risk must change or stop all or part of his practice and undergo either treatment or rehabilitation or risk disciplinary charges. Under the amended Medical Registration Ordinance, which is due to go before the Legislative Council in July, an expanded Medical Council will include a health committee to determine the fitness of doctors to practise.