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2. Relationships with Service Users

You have moral and legal obligations to service users and a duty of care to all.

You should demonstrate respect for individual dignity, belief, culture and autonomy through a commitment to the principles of consent and confidentiality. You must neither engage in, nor condone, behaviour that causes physical, emotional or psychological distress or damage to anyone.

2.1 Provision of good care to service users

You must ensure equality of care to all with no discrimination (gender, age, disability, ethnic origin, race, religion, beliefs, marital status, economic status, lifestyle, sexual orientation). You should strive for a consistency of care at all times and in all situations.

You must not be judgemental of any service users and ensure that children and other vulnerable groups are protected.

You must recognise the limits of your competence, consider the provision of appropriate health educational advice and, when deemed appropriate, consult with and take advice from colleagues.

You should make good use of resources available to you and at all times optimise exposure to radiation.

2.2 Professional boundaries

You should, if practicable, avoid providing imaging or radiotherapy services to anyone with whom you have a close personal relationship.

In order to maintain professional boundaries, you must not use your position to enter into relationships that may exploit service users sexually, emotionally, socially, financially or in any other manner.

You must use your professional judgement as to whether it may be prudent to involve a chaperone for a particular situation involving a service user. Wherever possible, it is good practice to offer the patient the presence of a chaperone during certain intimate procedures (eg, transrectal or transvaginal examinations) whether or not you are the same gender as the patient.

Considerations of chaperoning should be annexed to patient consent for examinations and it is advisable to ensure that the patient agrees with, and understands the role of, staff that might be present during intimate examinations.

Conversations with service users which include references to sex, politics or religion should be avoided.

2.3 Communication

You should introduce yourself by full name and job title to any user of your service and ask individuals how they wish to be addressed (eg, you must not use first or given names without initially gaining permission).

You must listen and respect service users’ views, communicate clearly, openly and effectively and be conscious of their ability to make decisions for themselves.

You should identify individuals with communication difficulties and make adjustments to accommodate their particular problems (eg, if there are language difficulties you should use interpreters not family members wherever possible).

In addition, you should develop sensitivity to the different cultural needs of patients.

Good communication with vulnerable people such as the elderly or special needs patients is imperative; you must always listen carefully to them and respect their views.

2.4 Children

You have a professional and personal duty to safeguard and protect children and therefore should follow the SCoR guidelines in The Child and The Law: the roles and responsibilities of the radiographer6.

You must satisfy yourself that the appropriate informed consent has been gained prior to undertaking any examination or procedure and follow the SCoR guidelines in Consent to imaging and radiotherapy treatment examinations: an ethical perspective and good practice guide for the radiography workforce7.

2.6 Confidentiality

You must not share the medical or personal details of a patient/client with anyone except those healthcare professionals who are integral to the well being of the patient. Consent of the patient should be gained before sharing information with relatives, carers or whoever may accompany the patient.

You must neither misuse electronic mail nor discuss patients or their illnesses in a public place. Local policies and procedures should be followed with regard to the leaving of messages on telephone answering systems.

Service user confidence is imperative and you need to follow the SCoR guidelines in Consent to imaging and radiotherapy treatment examinations: an ethical perspective and good practice guide for the radiography workforce7 and the HPC guidelines in Confidentiality: guidance for registrants8.

2.7 Infection control

You must ensure that you understand and follow the principles and practice of infection control and that you minimise the risks of cross infection. You should seek to advise service users and students on how to avoid cross infection and report instances where cross infection may arise from activities you have witnessed.

You should follow the SCoR guidelines in Healthcare Associated Infections: practical guidance and advice9.

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