Code of Ethics
Respect & Responsibility:
Of oneself and others through reflection and stillness
Not judging but understanding others; honouring both our knowledge and our professional limitations
Trusting in oneself in the healing relationship.
1. Key Principles
To treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves, and to not do to others what we don’t wish to be done to us.
- Developing a heart-centred practice
- Respecting the dignity and privacy of others (patients, fellow students, teachers and staff)
- Treating others and ourselves fairly, respectfully and sensitively
- Honouring the art of listening to others without prejudice
- Developing a sense of responsibility to ourselves, our patients and the homeopathic profession
- Creating safe boundaries for the protection of patients and ourselves
- Maintaining and prioritising self-care including ongoing self-reflection, supervision and mentorship
- Practising within the boundaries of our own competence.
2. Educational Principles
To strive for wisdom which is a blend of knowledge, intuition and compassion.
- Understanding that health is not just the absence of disease, but also the journey of maintaining health and facilitating personal growth and spiritual awareness
- Developing a strong sense of trust, kindness, respect and tolerance of each other’s differences
- Being committed to studying and learning both at College and at home
- Developing a core knowledge and understanding of the body systems, the main homeopathic remedy pictures, homeopathic philosophy and prescribing methodologies according to the River School of Homeopathy curriculum
- Honouring every homeopath’s own path in developing her unique style of practice with possible integration of adjunct complementary therapies
- Developing our practitioner confidence and sense of self in becoming a homeopath
- Participating in building a strong community of RSH learners and graduates
- Being committed to exploring a journey of discovery of self in relation to the homeopathy teachings eg through guided mediation; and being supported in this journey through reflection, homeopathic treatment & mentoring
- Knowing when to turn to elders for guidance, advice and support, and when to give constructive feedback
- Building a unified voice on all matters of homeopathy and complementary health, and responding calmly with courage and informed knowledge to outside criticism, gently challenging the dominant conventional modality when necessary.
3. The Patient / Practitioner Relationship
To hold the paradigm of love of self and others.
- Understanding the importance of patient consent to treatment (NB: for consent to be valid it must be voluntary, made by an informed and competent person, and made for each adjunct therapy when provided before its commencement)
- Building relationships of trust in which complex health decisions can be discussed
- Empowering patients to understand their bodies and ill-health, to take responsibility for their health, and to know that a symptom is a gift to teach them about themselves and what their body needs for health
- Developing effective and sensitive case-taking skills
- Learning the key drug effects, interactions and side-effects (according to the RSH syllabus)
- Knowing the limits of our practice, how to identify serious medical conditions and when to refer patients for medical treatment or adjunct therapies
- Discussing with patients the need to notify the person with overall clinical responsibility if they request homeopathic treatment in a hospital or hospice
- Learning how to maintain adequate patient records (NB: all consultations must be recorded within 24 hours in a clear and legible way, and contain relevant information relating to the progress of the case, and all treatment and advice given)
- Keeping all patient information secure and confidential unless the patient agrees to the release of personal information
- Complying the General Data Protection Regulation 2018 (GDPR) when records are kept electronically and / or in writing.
4. Professional Concerns
To create safe and secure boundaries for the establishment of trust and the welfare of our patients and ourselves.
- Understanding that safe boundaries involve creating a confidential safe physical space for consultations, and secure energetic boundaries between ourselves and our patients
- Understanding that we must not abuse our professional boundaries whether sexual or otherwise, and that we must not pursue or enter into an intimate relationship with a patient, student or supervisee
- Monitoring and evaluating clinical skills, and actively extending knowledge base and personal development though CPD
- Taking responsibility to listen to the concerns of a patient’s family or friend without breaching confidentiality, and recording details of the conversation in the patient’s notes
- Being aware that the responsibility for altering any prescribed medication lies with the patient and the prescribing practitioner
- Following the Society of Homeopath’s guidelines in relation to treating clients under the age of 16 (Section 29 of the SOH Code of Ethics). See Appendix 1.
- Obtaining written permission for recording any part of the consultation, and being aware that consent needs to be clear and informed regarding the precise use of the recording
- Understanding that gifts may be received from patients only if they are modest and unsolicited, and do not interfere with the way they are prescribed for, advised or referred to other health practitioners
- Being aware that we have the right to refuse to treat patients as long as we explain why, for example, if the patient makes overtly sexual comments; is aggressive or violent; makes unreasonable demands; is putting our safety at risk; if we do not have the resources, knowledge or training to effectively treat a patient; or if mutual trust has broken down.
5. Legal Issues
To act according to the law for the benefit of our patients and ourselves.
- Complying with the criminal and civil law of the place where we are practicing
- Keeping up to date with all legislation and regulations relating directly or indirectly to the practice of homeopathy
- Ensuring that we do not allow misleading advertising and information about our practice. Advertising needs to be honest, decent, legal and truthful, and should comply with the relevant laws relating to advertising including The Trade Descriptions Act 1968; The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and The Blue Guide from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
- Knowing that professional advertising must be factual and not seek to mislead or deceive, or make unrealistic or extravagant claims. Advertising may indicate special interests but must not make claims of superiority or disparage professional colleagues or other professionals. No promise of cure, either implicit or explicit, will be made of any named disease. All research will be presented clearly honestly and without distortion; all speculative theories will be stated as such and clearly distinguished
- Being aware that under the Cancer Act 1939, it is a criminal offence to take any part in the publication of an advertisement (which is likely to include electronic publications, such as websites, emails and social media) containing any offer to treat any person for cancer, or to prescribe any remedy for it, or to give any advice in connection with the treatment of cancer
- Being aware of those diseases which are notifiable under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act, and where they feel the patient’s symptoms may indicate the presence of such a disease, advise the patient to see their Primary Health Care Professional and the patient to see and/or write to the GP with this information
- Keeping premises, equipment and medicines in a serviceable, hygienic and secure condition
- Understanding that if our mental, emotional or physical health becomes impaired in a way that puts patients at risk, we must seek and follow professional advice on whether, and how, to modify our practice so as to safeguard the interests of their patients
- Knowing that we must not treat patients while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, and appreciating that it may be necessary to stop practising or to receive professional supervision in order to establish fitness to practise
- Understanding the importance of having appropriate professional indemnity insurance cover at all times
- Ensuring that patients have clear information about how to express any concern they may have about their treatment. (In handling any complaint directly we should act promptly and constructively, putting the interests of the patient first, and co-operating fully with any external investigation).
Appendix 1: extract from Society of Homeopath’s Code of Ethics, 2018
Consent in Children and Young People
Before examining or treating a child the practitioner must ensure that he or she has valid consent.
A separate Mental Health Act applies in Scotland. Consent for children is complex and the information below is a summary only. It is based on the Gillick principles.
- A child under age 16 may be able to consent to treatment if they have the capacity to do so. This is a matter for professional judgement. However, a homeopath is strongly advised, wherever possible, to involve the child’s parent.
- If a child under 16 gives consent a parent cannot override that consent.
- If a child lacks capacity to consent, then the homeopath must seek consent from the parent(s).
- A child of 16 or 17 can be treated as an adult and is presumed to be able to make judgements about their own care.
- A person of 16 or 17 without capacity cannot give consent to treatment and the consent must be obtained from the parent(s) [England, Wales and Northern Ireland]. In Scotland the young person is treated as an adult who lacks capacity.
- If a person aged 16 or 17 gives consent to treatment, that consent cannot be overridden by the parent(s).
- If the homeopath believes that a child under 16 is at risk, the practitioner must contact the appropriate Social Services Department for advice.