Optometry Board of Australia - Advance copy: Revised Code of conduct for 12 professions
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Advance copy: Revised Code of conduct for 12 professions

06 Apr 2022

Twelve National Boards have published an advance copy of their revised shared Code of conduct (the code) and are encouraging practitioners to familiarise themselves with it before it comes into effect on 29 June 2022.

The code applies to the following professions:

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice
• chiropractic
• Chinese medicine
• dental
• medical radiation practice
• occupational therapy
• optometry
• osteopathy
• paramedicine
• pharmacy
• physiotherapy, and
• podiatry 

What is the shared Code of conduct?

The code sets out National Boards’ expectations of professional behaviour and conduct for practitioners registered in these professions, which promotes safe and effective care and helps to keep the public safe.

Practitioners have a professional responsibility to be familiar with and to apply the code.

The shared code sets the same expectations for all 12 professions subject to the code. This consistency supports inter-professional practice and contributes to safety and quality in healthcare.

The public can also use the code to better understand what they can expect from registered health practitioners and if the care they provide meets expected standards.

The code does not apply for the Medical Board of Australia, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia or the Psychology Board of Australia. These Boards have profession-specific codes of conduct or code of ethics in place which you can read on their websites.

Why was the code revised?

The code has been revised so that it continues to be relevant and useful for practitioners, more accessible for health consumers and is an effective and up-to-date regulatory tool.

‘The review included extensive consultation with the public and numerous stakeholders, and we thank them for their input. The revised code is contemporary, more useful and more accessible to both practitioners and the public because of these contributions. We strongly encourage practitioners to familiarise themselves with the code before it comes into effect in June’, Ahpra CEO, Martin Fletcher, said.

What has changed in the code?

National Boards have only made changes where needed to keep the code up-to-date, effective, clear and relevant.

The main changes include:

  • principles to guide behaviour including when an issue is not specifically addressed in the code
  • a new section on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and cultural safety that includes the National Scheme’s definition of cultural safety
  • information about practitioners’ responsibilities in relation to bullying and harassment including the importance of addressing the issue in the workplace and the role of National Boards/Ahpra
  • content about the importance of clinical governance particularly for practitioners in leadership positions
  • more information about vexatious complaints (notifications)
  • guidance for employers about ensuring performance targets and other business practices are consistent with the code, and
  • reorganised content to reduce duplication and make sequencing more logical and minor changes to wording to improve clarity.

When does the shared Code on conduct come into effect?

The code comes into effect on 29 June 2022, replacing the existing codes of conduct for the 12 professions. Practitioners must comply with the standards of professional conduct set out in the code from this date.

Where can you read the code?

To read the advance copy of the code please visit the Shared Code of conduct page on the Ahpra website.

For more information

Page reviewed 6/04/2022