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Introduction

About this code

This document and the principles inherent within, outlines the principles and precepts required of a professional working in the wide field of what is encompassed within the generic term ‘radiography’.

It is issued by the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) to give advice and guidance to radiographers. Radiographers should use their judgement to apply these principles to the various situations in which they practice and in their personal lives in order to maintain the widest public trust and confidence in the profession.

Radiographers are advised that this document is not an alternative but is an adjunct to the current Health Professions Council (HPC) Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics1 and must be used in conjunction with it and all other relevant HPC publications. The HPC is the regulatory body for a number of named health professions.

Whilst this document addresses the profession of radiography and radiographers, most aspects contained within it are pertinent to members of the wider radiography workforce (eg, student radiographers, assistant practitioners, trainee assistant practitioners and support workers). It is incumbent on this wider workforce to ensure that they apply these same principles and precepts within their own scope of practice to ensure the public’s trust in radiography service provision and thus also in the profession of radiography.

Under the Health Professions Order (2001) the terms ‘radiographer’, ‘diagnostic radiographer’ and ‘therapeutic radiographer’ are protected titles and can only be used by persons who have successfully completed an approved course leading to a diploma or degree in radiography and who are registered with the HPC. Title protection is one way of assisting the public in the identification of those individuals who are not only registered with the regulatory body and subsequently accountable for the delivery of a wide range of radiographic services, but also meet the established standards of the profession. It is permissible for the term ‘student radiographer’ to be used as long as it refers to an individual who is at the time following a recognised degree course which leads to eligibility for full HPC registration as a radiographer.

Individuals using any of the protected titles relevant to radiography in all clinical specialities; (educational, research, managerial or industrial employment) must comply at all times with the current legislation and laws in their country of practice, with current best practice and with their employer’s reasonable policies and procedures.

Complaints, professional conduct and fitness to practice

The HPC, as the professional regulatory body, handles complaints concerning the professional conduct or fitness to practice of registrants. The Society of Radiographers is the body that handles complaints or considers matters of fitness to practice concerning members of the Society who are not regulated by the HPC.

The HPC and the Society of Radiographers will take into account adherence or otherwise to this code, by radiographers and the wider radiography workforce, in the event of any complaint received.

Expectations

The Society and College of Radiographers expect members of the profession to, at all times, conduct themselves in a manner that will maintain public trust and confidence in the profession as a whole. The reputation of the profession must never be put into jeopardy through the actions or behaviours of either its members or the wider radiography workforce. In addition, individual members of the whole of the radiography workforce have a right to expect to be treated with respect and to be free from threats, violence or verbal abuse.

Whilst this document addresses the ethical requirements of radiographers and, by implication, the radiography workforce, it is also intended to enable the public to know what to expect from the provision of radiography services and, as such, this document should be widely available.

Best practice

At the heart of best practice is a commitment to the health and safety of all service users: to integrity and honesty; to professional competence; to continuing self-development and to the development and maintenance of high standards of ethics and behaviour.

This document consists of four major areas of standards of ethical behaviour which underpin and sustain professional and personal conduct:

  1. Scope of Professional Practice
  2. Relationships with Service Users
  3. Relationships with Professional Staff
  4. Personal and Professional Standards

and which are further informed by the following five philosophical precepts of:

  • Autonomy (respect for persons)
  • Beneficence (doing good)
  • Non-maleficence (not doing/preventing harm)
  • Justice (fair treatment of persons/environment)
  • Trustworthiness

Note

The HPC uses the term ‘service users’ to refer to anyone who uses or is affected by the services of registrants and will thus be applicable to all radiography registrants in whichever field they practice. The term ‘service users’ has therefore been adopted for this present publication.

In this document the following terms are used:

'You must' is used as an overriding principle or duty'You should' is used where the principle or duty may not apply in all circumstances or where there are factors outside your control affecting your ability to comply.

This document replaces Statements for Professional Conduct2 which was issued by The College of Radiographers in March 2002 and re-issued with minor amendments in September 2004.

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