Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct

Definitions: In this code of conduct:

health practitioner and health service have the same meaning as in the Health Care Complaints Act 1993.

Note. The Health Care Complaints Act 1993 defines those terms as follows: health practitioner means a natural person who provides a health service (whether or not the person is registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law).

Application of code of conduct

This code of conduct applies to the provision of health services by:

  • (a) health practitioners (MAA General Members) who are not subject to the scheme for registration under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (including de-registered health practitioners), and
  • (b) health practitioners who are registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law who provide health services that are unrelated to their registration.

Note. Health practitioners (including MAA General Members) may be subject to other requirements relating to the provision of health services to which this Code applies, including, for example, requirements imposed by Part 2A of the Act and the regulations under the Act relating to skin penetration procedures.

1 Health practitioners to provide services in safe and ethical manner

(1) A MAA General Member will provide health services in a safe and ethical manner.

(2) Without limiting subclause (1), MAA General Members will comply with the following principles:

  • (a) maintain the necessary competence in his or her field of practice, (b) not provide health care of a type that is outside his or her experience or training,
  • (b1) a MAA General Member will not provide services that he or she is not qualified to provide,
  • (b2) a MAA General Member will not use his or her possession of particular qualifications to mislead or deceive his or her clients as to his or her competence in his or her field of practice or ability to provide treatment,
  • (c) prescribe only treatments or appliances that serve the needs of the client,
  • (d) recognise the limitations of the treatment he or she can provide and refer clients to other competent health practitioners in appropriate circumstances,
  • (e) recommend to his or her clients that additional opinions and services be sought, where appropriate,
  • (f) assist his or her clients to find other appropriate health care professionals, if required and practicable,
  • (g) encourage his or her clients to inform their treating medical practitioner (if any) of the treatments they are receiving,
  • (h) have a sound understanding of any adverse interactions between the therapies and treatments he or she provides or prescribes and any other medications or treatments, whether prescribed or not, that the health practitioner is aware the client is taking or receiving,
  • (i) ensure that appropriate first aid is available to deal with any misadventure during a client consultation,
  • (j) obtain appropriate emergency assistance (for example, from the Ambulance Service) in the event of any serious misadventure during a client consultation.

2. Health practitioners diagnosed with infectious medical condition

(1) A MAA General Member who has been diagnosed with a medical condition that can be passed on to clients will ensure that he or she practises in a manner that does not put clients at risk.

(2) Without limiting subclause (1), a MAA General Member who has been diagnosed with a medical condition that can be passed on to clients should take and follow advice from an appropriate medical practitioner on the steps to be taken to modify his or her practice to avoid the possibility of transmitting that condition to clients.

3. Health practitioners not to make claims to cure certain serious illnesses

(1) A MAA General Member will not hold himself or herself out as qualified, able or willing to cure cancer and other terminal illnesses.

(2) A MAA General Member may make a claim as to his or her ability or willingness to treat or alleviate the symptoms of those illnesses if that claim can be substantiated.

4. Health practitioners to adopt standard precautions for infection control

(1) A MAA General Member will adopt standard precautions for the control of infection in his or her practice.

(2) Without limiting subclause (1), a MAA General Member who carries out a skin penetration procedure within the meaning of section 51 (3) of the Act must comply with the relevant regulations under the Act in relation to the carrying out of the procedure.

Note. The Act defines skin penetration procedure as any procedure (whether medical or not) that involves skin penetration (such as acupuncture, tattooing, ear piercing or hair removal), and includes any procedure declared by the regulations to be a skin penetration procedure, but does not include:

(a) any procedure carried out by a health practitioner registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, or by a person acting under the direction or supervision of a registered health practitioner, in the course of providing a health service, or

(b) any procedure declared by the regulations not to be a skin penetration procedure.

5. Appropriate conduct in relation to treatment advice

(1) A MAA General Member will not attempt to dissuade clients from seeking or continuing with treatment by a registered medical practitioner.

(2) A MAA General Member will accept the right of his or her clients to make informed choices in relation to their health care.

(3) A MAA General Member will communicate and co-operate with colleagues and other health care practitioners and agencies in the best interests of their clients.

(4) A MAA General Member who has serious concerns about the treatment provided to any of his or her clients by another health practitioner will refer the matter to the MAA Office and the Health Care Complaints Commission.

6. Health practitioners not to practise under influence of alcohol or drugs

(1) A MAA General Member will not practise under the influence of alcohol or unlawful drugs.

(2) A MAA General Member who is taking prescribed medication will obtain advice from the prescribing health practitioner on the impact of the medication on his or her ability to practice and must refrain from treating clients in circumstances where his or her ability is or may be impaired. 7. Health practitioners not to practise with certain physical or mental conditions A MAA General Member will not practise while suffering from a physical or mental impairment, disability, condition or disorder (including an addiction to alcohol or a drug, whether or not prescribed) that detrimentally affects, or is likely to detrimentally affect, his or her ability to practise or that places clients at risk of harm.

8. Health practitioners not to financially exploit clients

(1) A MAA General Member will not accept financial inducements or gifts for referring clients to other health practitioners or to the suppliers of medications or therapeutic goods or devices.

(2) A MAA General Member will not offer financial inducements or gifts in return for client referrals from other health practitioners.

(3) A MAA General Member will not provide services and treatments to clients unless they are designed to maintain or improve the clients’ health or wellbeing.

9. Health practitioners required to have clinical basis for treatments

A MAA General Member will not diagnose or treat an illness or condition without an adequate clinical basis.

10. Health practitioners not to misinform their clients

(1) A MAA General Member will not engage in any form of misinformation or misrepresentation in relation to the products or services he or she provides or as to his or her qualifications, training or professional affiliations.

(2) A MAA General Member will provide truthful information as to his or her qualifications, training or professional affiliations if asked about those matters by a client.

(3) A MAA General Member will not make claims, either directly or in advertising or promotional material, about the efficacy of treatment or services provided if those claims cannot be substantiated.

11. Health practitioners not to engage in sexual or improper personal relationship with client

(1) A MAA General Member will not engage in a sexual or other close personal relationship with a client.

(2) Before engaging in a sexual or other close personal relationship with a former client, a MAA General Member will ensure that a suitable period of time has elapsed since the conclusion of their therapeutic relationship.

12. Health practitioners to comply with relevant privacy laws

A MAA General Member will comply with the relevant legislation of the State or the Commonwealth relating to his or her clients’ health information, including the Privacy Act 1988 of the Commonwealth and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002.

13. Health practitioners to keep appropriate records

A MAA General Member will maintain accurate, legible and contemporaneous clinical records for each client consultation.

14. Health practitioners to keep appropriate insurance

A MAA General Member will ensure that appropriate indemnity insurance arrangements are in place in relation to his or her practice.

15. Certain health practitioners to display code and other information

(1) A MAA General Member will display a copy of each of the following documents at all premises where the MAA General Member carries on his or her practice:

(a) this code of conduct,

(b) a document that gives information about the way in which clients may make a complaint to the Health Care Complaints Commission, being a document in a form approved by the Director-General.

(2) Copies of those documents will be displayed in a position and manner that makes them easily visible to clients entering the relevant premises.