Telephone: 01492 534333
Registrants agree to follow these standards as a guide to accountable, caring and responsible practice
1. Practitioners must act in the best interests of their patients, clients and users.
Practitioners are personally responsible for making sure that they promote and protect the best interests of the people they care for. They must respect and take account of these factors when providing care, and must not exploit or abuse the relationship with a patient, client, user or carer. They must not allow their views about a patients’ clients’ or users’ sex, age, colour, race, disability, sexuality, social or economic status, lifestyle, culture or religious beliefs to affect the way they treat people, or the professional advice that they give.
Practitioners must at all times act to protect the interests of patients, clients, users, carers and other members of the public. They must try to provide the best possible care, either alone or with other health and social-care professionals. They must not do anything or allow anything to be done that they have good reason to believe will put the health or safety of a patient, client or user in danger. This includes both their own actions and those of others.
The practitioner is responsible for their own professional conduct, any care or professional advice they provide, any failure to act and any tasks they ask someone else to carry out. They must protect patients if they believe that they are threatened by a colleagues’ conduct, performance or health. The safety of patients, clients and users must come before any personal and professional loyalties at all times. As soon as the practitioner becomes aware of any situation that puts a patient, client or user at risk, they should discuss the matter with a professional colleague. If they feel that they cannot raise the matter with a senior colleague, they can contact the Registrar, or their professional body or place of training.
2. Practitioners must respect confidentiality of patients, clients and users
Information about patients, clients or users must be treated as confidential and be used only for the purpose for which it was given. The practitioner must not knowingly release any personal or confidential information to anyone who is not entitled to it, and should check that people who ask for information are entitled to it. They must only use information about a patient, client or user:
The practitioner must also keep to the conditions of any relevant data-protection legislation and follow best practice for handling information at all times. Best practice is likely to change over time, and it is important to stay up-to-date. Particular care must be taken not to reveal, deliberately or accidentally, confidential information that is stored on computers or other data handling devices.
3. High standards of personal conduct must be observed.
The practitioner must keep high standards of personal conduct, as well as professional conduct. Nothing must be done that may affect a person's treatment by, or confidence in the practitioner.
If we are informed that a practitioner has been convicted or has accepted a police caution the Registrar will be duty bound to refer your case to the Adjudication Panel for their consideration. But each case will always be considered individually and decisions will be taken in the light of the circumstances of the case.
However, as guidance, a registrant will be considered for striking off, or an application for registration will be rejected, if convicted of a criminal offence that involves one of the following types of behaviour:
4. Important information about conduct, competence or health.
The practitioner must inform the register (and other regulating bodies) if they have any important information about conduct or competence, or about other registrants and health professionals they work with. In particular, they must let us know straight away if they are:
Convicted of a criminal offence (other than a minor motoring offence) or accept a police caution;
Disciplined by any organisation responsible for regulating or licensing a health or social-care profession; or
Suspended or placed under a practice restriction by an employer or similar organisation because of concerns about conduct or competence.
Practitioners must co-operate with any investigation or formal inquiry into professional conduct, the conduct of another healthcare provider or the treatment of a patient, client or user, where appropriate. If anyone asks, and they are entitled to it, the practitioner must give any relevant information in connection with conduct or competence.
You should also provide information about the conduct or competence of other healthcare providers if someone who is entitled to know asks for it. This is related to the practitioner's duty to act in the best interests of patients, clients and users, explained earlier in this document.
The Registrar must also be informed about any significant changes in health, especially issues that have changed delivery of practice as a result of medical advice. The Registrar will keep this information private, but it is vital that the Registrar is informed. Failure to inform could affect registration.
5. High standards of professional integrity, technical competence and business practices must be maintained.
6. Professional knowledge and skills must be kept up to date.
The practitioner must ensure that knowledge, skills and performance are of a high quality, up to date and relevant to their field of practice.
The practitioner must be capable of meeting the Register's standards of proficiency that relate to clinical practice. It is important to recognise that the standards of proficiency are minimum standards of clinical practice. If you want to be on the register those clinical standards must be maintained so that the basic skills of the profession can be practiced safely, even if this no longer forms the basis of your day-to-day work.
The practitioner must stay up to date with changes to the profession as technology and techniques develop. If there is reason to believe that the practitioner might no longer meet the standards of proficiency, they will be tested against the absolute competencies required for practice.
7. The practitioner must act within the limits of their knowledge, skills and experience and, if necessary, must refer to another professional.
8. It is essential that the practitioner stay within their scope of practice.
This means they should only practice in those fields in which they have appropriate education, training and experience.
When accepting a patient or client, the practitioner must accept a duty of care. This includes the obligation to refer for further professional advice or treatment if it becomes clear that the task is beyond their own scope of practice. A person is entitled to a referral for a second opinion at any time and the practitioner is under an obligation to accept the request and do so promptly. If a referral is accepted from another health or social-care professional, the practitioner must make sure that they fully understand the request. Treatment or advice should only be given if considered to be appropriate. If this is not the case, the matter must be discussed with the practitioner who has made the referral and also the patient, client or user, before any treatment is commenced.
9. Effective communications must be kept with clients, users, carers and other professionals.
All reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that communication is proper and effective with patients, clients and users, and their carers and family. It is also necessary to communicate effectively, co-operate and share knowledge and expertise with professional colleagues for the benefit of patients, clients and users.
10. Supervision of delegated tasks.
Patients, clients and service users are entitled to assume that the person who has the knowledge and skill to practice their profession will carry out their treatment. Whenever tasks are delegated to another person it is the duty of a practitioner to ensure that they have the knowledge, skills and experience to carry out the task safely and effectively. If they are not health professionals they must not be asked to carry out the work of health professionals. If they are health professionals, they must not be asked to do work that is outside their scope of practice. If they are in training, the practitioner must be sure that they are capable of carrying out the task safely and effectively. The practitioner must always continue to give adequate and appropriate supervision and will remain responsible for the outcome.
11. Informed consent to give treatment.
When planning a treatment it is necessary to explain to the patient, client or user the treatment, the risks involved and any other possible options for treatment.
If treatment for their wellbeing is refused, it is necessary to make reasonable efforts to persuade them, particularly if it is thought that there is a significant or immediate risk to their life.
12. Accurate patient, client and user records must be kept.
Record-keeping is a legal requirement. Records must be kept for every client who asks for treatment, professional advice or service. All records must be completed and legible, and all entries should be signed and dated. When hand-written they should be in black, indelable ink.
There is a duty to protect information in records against loss, damage or use by anyone who is not authorised. Computer-based systems may be used for keeping records, but only if they are protected against tampering by password protection or encryption. If a record is updated, information that was previously there must not be erased, or made difficult to read. Instead, a line must be drawn through the old information).
13. Infection must be fairly and safely controlled and any risks of infection managed appropriately.
Treatment must not be denied to a patient who has an infection. The rules of confidentiality must be observed when dealing with people who have infections. For some infections, such as sexually transmitted infections, these rules may be more restrictive than the rules of confidentiality for people in other circumstances. .
It is important to take appropriate precautions to protect your patients, clients and users, their carers and families, your staff and yourself from infection. In particular, cross infection must be prevented.
If the practitioner is aware of a risk of spreading a transmissible infection to patients, clients and service users, there is a duty of care to prevent such transmission by change of practice, or cessation of practice where this is appropriate. Medical advice should be acted upon.
14. Work must be limited or discontinued if health issues dictate.
The practitioner has a duty to take action if health issues could be threatening their fitness to practice. Action can be taken if practice is continued when there is an issue that precludes fitness to practice. Advice from a consultant in occupational health or another suitably qualified medical practitioner should be taken and acted upon. This advice should consider whether practice could be changed, including stopping practising if necessary.
15. High standards of ethics must be practiced.
16. Duties must be carried out in a professional and ethical way.
Duties and responsibilities must be discharged in a professional and ethical way. Patients, clients and users are entitled to receive good and safe standards of practice and care. The public must be protected from unprofessional and unethical behaviour, and we seek to ensure that health professionals know about the standards we expect them to meet. These standards are needed to protect the public and health professionals have special responsibilities that go beyond those expected of other people.
17. Integrity and honesty are important.
Integrity, honesty and high standards of personal and professional conduct must be practiced at all times.
18. Advertising guidelines must be followed.
Any advertising in relation to professional activities must be accurate. Advertisements must not be misleading, false, unfair or exaggerated. In particular, a professional must not claim that their personal skills, equipment or facilities are better than anyone else’s unless that can be proven.
If involved in advertising or promoting a product or service, scientific knowledge, clinical skills and experience must be used in an accurate and professionally responsible way. No unjustifiable statements must be made relating to particular products and services that are given or applied to patients, clients and users.
19. Registrants must ensure that their behaviour does not damage their profession’s reputation.
The practitioner must not become involved in any behaviour or activity which is likely to damage their profession’s reputation or undermine public confidence in their profession.
Acknowledgement: The Standards required by the Alliance of Private Sector Practitioners are based upon and adapted from the model of Standards of Proficiency and Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics originally published by the Health Professions Council.