Professional code of conduct

The Code:

  1. The care of your patient should be your first and continuing priority.
  2. Be honest and trustworthy at all times in both your professional practice and your personal life.
  3. Behave in a professional manner towards other healthcare professionals.
  4. Register with and maintain registration with the competent authority in your country, if applicable.

The Elaboration:

  1. The care of your patient/client should be your first and continuing priority
    The relationship with the patient/client, as the recipient of your services, must be conducted within an ethical framework. You must provide your patient/client with objective information concerning the service you provide. Your patients/clients have the right to expect an assessment of their circumstances to be carried out and decisions to be made impartially and objectively, without pressure from external sources and without conflicts of interest.
    The first priority in the provision of professional services must be the best interests of the patient/client, subject to any overriding legal requirements. Patient/client care should be tailored towards the need of individual patients/clients.
    In order to provide the highest level of care to your patients/clients, you should keep your knowledge and skills up to date.
    You must work at all times within the limits of your own competence, and refer to other professionals when you are not competent to address your patient’s/client’s needs.
  2. Be honest and trustworthy
    Professionals are required to observe strict professional secrecy. Confidentiality is the cornerstone for the building of trust between professionals and their patients/clients. You must respect and safeguard the confidentiality of the information acquired in the course of providing professional services and ensure that information about a patient/client is not disclosed to others except in specified circumstances and, where possible, with the informed consent of the individual.
    Those who use professional services have the right to expect to be treated with courtesy and respect. They are also entitled to receive sound professional advice in terms they will understand, as well as information before and during the provisions of services, both on the procedure it is intended to pursue to achieve the desired objective, and on the fees involved.
    You must not display sexualised behaviour towards patients/clients or their carers. The relationship between the professional and the patient/client depends on confidence and trust. If you display sexualised behaviour towards a patient/client or carer you breach that trust and, additionally, may be committing a criminal act.
  3. Behave in a professional manner towards other healthcare professionals
    You must work with colleagues in the ways that best serve patients’/clients’ interests.
    You must act quickly to protect patients from risk where there is good reason to believe that a colleague may not be fit to practice.
    Patients/clients have freedom of choice of service provider, and you must not act in any way that compromises this.
  4. Register with and maintain registration with the competent authority in your country, if applicable
    Regulation is defined as where the State has either delegated regulatory power to organisations, calling on them to lay down the rules necessary for the pursuit of the profession and to carry out supervision, or the State may itself directly lay down such rules.
    Where there is regulation, often professional organisations are at the centre of the pursuit of professional activities. The majority of sectors with a code of conduct come under the sector of regulated professions. This is mainly because membership of a professional organisation is often compulsory by law for regulated professions.
    Where there is no regulation, there may be less effective local representation of professionals, but it is important that the local representative body is capable of devising self-regulation, observed by its members, with the objective of enhancing the level of quality of the service provider by increasing the transparency of the rules laid down in the Code and by improving the patient’s awareness of them. It is therefore recommended that for organisations operating in non-regulated countries, local rules should be drawn up which cover the aspects of practice which might be regulated. These include vocational and/or professional training requirements and sanctions for professionals who act in a way that might be unsafe for the patient.

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