All practising members undertake to adhere to the following code:
Code of Conduct, Performance and Ethics for Members and Officers;
Your main duty as a therapist and member of the NSP is to protect the health and wellbeing of all those who use your services.
• The care of your client must be your first concern
• You must provide a high standard of care at all times
• Clients must be treated with respect, as individuals
• Your professional knowledge must be kept up to date
• You must act lawfully in your professional and personal practice
• You are personally accountable for your professional activity
All applicants for membership of the NSP must confirm that they have read and agree to observe, the standards set out in this document. Every Member must be familiar with the standards and must ensure that, they are observed. The standards apply to all Members.
The NSP will establish and keep under review the standards of conduct, performance and ethics expected of members and give them such guidance on these matters as seen fit and proper.
Your duties as a Member:
The standards of conduct, performance and ethics that you must follow:
This document explains the standards of conduct, performance and ethics which all members must keep.
They are the basis against which the NSP will assess possible complaints made against a member.
The main responsibilities of a member are summarised below, grouped into categories of conduct, performance and ethics.
Each responsibility is explained in more detail further on in this document.
Please remember that this is not a fully comprehensive list of all the issues that can arise in relation to your conduct, performance and ethics.
As a member you must also seek to protect the health and wellbeing of yourself and people who use your services.
You must always maintain high standards of conduct.
• Act in the best interests of your clients and users.
• Respect the confidentiality of your clients and users.
• Maintain high standards of personal conduct.
• Provide the NSP, on request, any relevant information about your conduct, competence or health.
You must always observe high standards of performance.
• Keep your professional knowledge, skills and performance up to date and relevant to your field(s) of practice.
• Act within the limits of your knowledge, skills and experience and if necessary, refer on to another member or
• Maintain appropriate and effective communication with clients, users, carers, other members and professionals.
• Effectively supervise tasks you have delegated.
• Obtain informed consent to give treatment, preferably in writing (except in emergency).
• Keep accurate client and user record.
• Be aware of and manage effectively and safely the risks of infection or injury.
• Limit your work or stop practicing if you or another person has reason to believe that your performance or judgement is effected by your physical, emotional or mental health.
You must always maintain high ethical standards.
You are required to:
• Carry out your duties in a professional and ethical way.
• Behave with integrity and honesty.
• You are required to follow NSP guidance in relation to advertising your services.
• You are required to not be involved in any behaviour or activity which is likely to damage your profession’s reputation or undermine public confidence in your profession.
The main responsibilities of NSP Members:
1. You are required to act always in the best interests of your clients and users
You are personally responsible for making sure that you promote and protect the best interests of the people you care for. You are required to respect and take account of these factors when providing care, and must not exploit or abuse the relationship with patient, client, user or carer. You must not allow your views about patients’, clients’ or users’ sex, age, colour, race, disability, sexuality, social or economic status, lifestyle, cultural or religious beliefs to affect the way you treat them or the professional advice that you give.
You are required to, at all times, act to protect the interests of patients, clients, users, carers and other members of the public. You are obligated to provide the best possible care, either alone or with other members, health and social care professionals. You must not do anything, or allow anything to be done, that you have reason to believe will put the health or safety of a patient, client or user in danger. This includes both your own actions and those of others.
When working in a team you remain accountable for your professional conduct, any care or professional advice you provide, any failure to act and any tasks you may delegate. You are required to protect clients if you believe they are actually or potentially at risk from a colleague’s conduct, performance or health. The safety of clients and users must come before any personal and professional loyalties at all times. As soon as you become aware of any situation that puts a client or user at risk, you should discuss the matter with a senior professional colleague or the NSP.
2. You are required to respect the confidentiality of your clients and users
You must treat information about clients and users as confidential and use it only for the purpose for which it was given. You are required to not knowingly release any personal or confidential information to anyone who is not entitled to it, and you should check that people who ask for information are entitled to it. You must only use information about a client or user:
• To continue to care for that person; or
• For purposes where that person has given you specific permission to use the information; or
• for legal reasons; or
• if you have good cause to believe that your client, you, or others may be harmed if you do not disclose information.
You are required to keep the conditions of any relevant data-protection legislation and follow best practice and NSP policy for handling confidential information relating to individuals at all times. Best practice and policy is likely to change over time and you must stay up to date. You are required to be particularly careful not to reveal, deliberately or accidentally, confidential information that is stored on a computer.
Confidentiality can be a particular challenge when treating minors. In most circumstances it would be most appropriate to have an adult present at the consultation but the issue of confidentiality would need to be carefully considered and decisions made on individual circumstances.
You are required to maintain high standards of personal conduct
You are expected to keep high standards of personal conduct, as well as professional conduct. You are expected not do anything that may affect someone’s treatment by or confidence in you.
If you are convicted of a criminal case or have accepted a Police caution, the NSP must be informed. Each case will be considered individually and a decision made in the light of the circumstances of the case. Your membership may be at risk if you are convicted of a criminal offence that involves, for example, one of the following types of behaviour:
• Sexual misconduct
• Supplying drugs
• Drink-driving offences
• Serious offences involving dishonesty
• Any serious criminal offences for which you received a prison sentence.
You are required to provide, on request, any relevant information about your conduct, competence or health.
You are required to tell the NSP (and advised to inform any other relevant regulators and professional bodies) if you have any relevant information about your own conduct or competence, or about any other members you work with. In particular, you are expected to let us know straight away if you 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 healthcare practitioner or social care profession; or
• Suspended or placed under a practice restriction order by an employer or similar organisation because of concerns about your conduct or competence.
You are required to co-operate with any NSP investigation or formal inquiry into your professional conduct, competence or health, or the conduct of any other healthcare provider, or treatment of a patient, client or user, where appropriate. Relevant information in connection with conduct or competence should be supplied to any legitimate enquirer.
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 relates to your duty to act in the best interests of your patients, clients and users. A complaint about a colleague should be referred on to the NSP for advice.
5. You are required to ensure that your knowledge, skills and performance are of a high quality, up to date and relevant to your field(s) of practice.
You are required to be capable of meeting the Standards of Proficiency that relate to your profession specific practice(s), as defined by the NSP. As a member you are required to meet these standards, whether you are in practice or not. The Standards of Proficiency describe minimum standards of clinical practice. You are expected to remain up to date with any changes to the Standards of Proficiency that the NSP may make, as knowledge and techniques develop.
6. You are required to act within the limits of your knowledge, skills and experience and if necessary, refer on to another member or healthcare professional.
You are expected to keep within the scope of your practice. This means you should only practice in those fields in which you have appropriate education, training, qualification and experience.
Your duty of care to a client includes the obligation to refer them for further professional advice or treatment if it becomes clear that what they need, is beyond your own scope of practice. If you accept a referral from another healthcare or social care professional, you are to ensure you fully understand the request. You should only provide the treatment or advice you believe is appropriate. If this is not the case, you are required to discuss the matter with the practitioner who has made the referral, and also with the client or user, before you begin any treatment.
7. You are required to maintain appropriate and effective communications with clients, users, carers and other members and professionals.
You are expected to take all reasonable steps to make sure that you can communicate properly and effectively with your patients, clients and users and their carers and family. You are required to communicate effectively, co-operate and share your knowledge and expertise with professional colleagues for the benefit of patients, clients and users. This is of particular importance when entering multiple relationships involving the same patient, client or user.
8. It is your responsibility to effectively supervise tasks you have delegated.
People who consult you or receive treatment or services from you are entitled to assume that a person who has the knowledge and skill to carry out their treatment. Whenever you give tasks to another person to carry out on your behalf, you must be sure that they have the knowledge, skills and experience to carry out the task safely and effectively. If they are not members and healthcare professionals, you must not ask them to do the work of healthcare professionals. If they are members and healthcare professionals, you must not ask them to do work that is outside their scope of practice. If they are trained to be healthcare professionals, you should be sure that they are capable of carrying out the task safely and effectively.
Whoever you ask to carry out a task, you will always continue to give adequate and appropriate supervision and you remain accountable for the outcome. If someone tells you that they are unwilling to carry out the task because they do not think they are capable of doing so safely and effectively, you will not pressure them to carry out the task. If their refusal raises a disciplinary or training issue, you are to deal with that separately, without endangering the safety of the patient, client or user.
9. You are expected to gain informed consent to give treatment (except in emergency).
You are required to explain to the patient, client or user the treatment you are intending to carry out, the risks involved and any other treatments possible. You must make sure that you obtain informed consent to any treatment you carry out, in writing where possible. You are expected to make a record of the person’s treatment decisions and pass this on to all members of the healthcare or social care team involved in their care. It is recognised that in emergencies, you may not be able to fully explain treatment or get informed consent at the time.
10. You are required to keep accurate client and user records.
Making and keeping records is an essential part of care and you must keep records for everyone you treat or who asks for professional advice or services. All records must be complete and legible and you should sign all entries.
When supervising students, you should also counter-sign any student entries in the notes. Whenever you review the record, you should up-date them and include any arrangements that you have made for continuing care of the patient.
You are expected to protect information in records against loss, damage or use by anyone who is not expected. You can use computer-based systems for keeping records, but only if they are protected against anyone tampering with them (including other healthcare professionals). If you update a record, you must not erase information that was previously there, or make that information difficult to read. Instead, you must mark it in some way (for example, by drawing a line through the old information.)
11. You are expected to be aware of and manage effectively and safely the risks of infection.
You are required to take appropriate precautions to protect your patients, clients and users, their carers and families, your staff and yourself from infection.
You responsibility is to take precautions against the risks that you might infect someone else. This is especially important if you suspect or know that you have an infection that could harm others, particularly patients, clients and users. If you believe that you have such an infection, you must get medical advice and act on it. This may include the need for you to stop practicing altogether, or to change your practice in some way in the best interests of your clients.
You are to maintain the rules of confidentiality 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.
12. You are to limit your work or stop practising if your performance or judgement is affected by your physical, emotional or mental health
You have a duty to take action if your physical, emotional or mental health could be affecting your fitness to practise. You are to gain advice from a consultant in occupational health or another suitably qualified medical practitioner and act on that advice. This advice is to consider whether and in what ways, you might need to change your practice, including stopping practising if this is necessary. You also have a duty to report any other NSP registered practitioner if you believe they are failing to meet this requirement.
13. You are to carry out your duties in a professional and ethical way
You are expected to carry out your duties and responsibilities in a professional and ethical way. Clients and users are entitled to receive good and safe standards of practice and care. The NSP seeks to protect the public from unprofessional and unethical behaviour and to make sure that registrants know the standards expected of them.
14. You are to behave with integrity and honesty.
You are expected to make sure that you behave with integrity and honesty and keep to high standards of personal and professional conduct at all times.
15. You are to follow NSP guidelines in relation to advertising your services.
Any advertising you undertake in relation to your professional activities must be accurate. Advertisements must not be misleading, false, unfair or exaggerated. You are not to claim that your personal skills, equipment or facilities are better than anyone else’s.
If you are involved in advertising or promoting any other product or service, you are to ensure that you use your knowledge, healthcare skills, qualifications and experience in an accurate and professional way. You must not make or support unjustifiable statements relating to particular products or services. Any potential financial rewards to you should be made explicit and play no part at all in your advice or recommendations of products and services that you give to patients, clients and users.
16. You are not be involved in any behaviour or activity that is likely to damage your profession’s reputation or undermine public confidence in your profession.
As a member your behaviour will potentially be under scrutiny at all times by members of the public and you should ensure you do nothing to bring your profession into disrepute. Appropriate professional boundaries must be maintained between practitioners and the patient, client or user. Development of a personal relationship must result in the cessation of the therapeutic relationship.
Inquiries into allegations against members
The NSP has a procedure, which will process complaints against members based on the expectations set out above in the Codes of Conduct, Performance and Ethics.
Every complaint is considered in line with the NSP Complaints Procedure which is available to all at http://responsibility.org.uk/about-responsibility/
The Professional Standards Officer (To Be Appointed, TBA) will decide if there is a case to be investigated and if there is, it will be dealt with in accordance with a complaints procedure. If the case against the member is well founded, the NSP can take a range of appropriate measures against the member as necessary. The ultimate sanction would be removal from the NSP register.
When an allegation is made against a member, the NSP will always take account of the standards set out in this Code when considering the allegation. While this document contains several examples of issues that may be considered, it is not an exclusive list. An allegation against a member may be upheld even if the details of the issues that arise in their case are not specifically mentioned in this document. Every case referred to the NSP will be considered individually.
Comments and review.
The NSP would be pleased to receive any comments on this Code and how members use it in their practice.
Such comments could be fed into the next review of the Code.