The OCE realizes that a high standard of professional conduct in all orthoptists is important both for the patient and the high regard of the profession. Therefore, the OCE has drawn up a Code of Ethics and offers guidelines for the practice of orthoptics in Europe. The document may be used to supplement existing national codes or assist in establishing such codes where they do not already exist. It is not intended that this should replace any national code of conduct and orthoptists must primarily comply with the rules of the country in which they practice.
Code of ethics
I Orthoptists must possess qualifications recognized by the appropriate authority.
II Orthoptists offer the best possible treatment to their patients and will not by any act or omission do anything to endanger or adversely affect the health or safety of their patients.
III Orthoptists avoid exceeding their competence and confine themselves to those fields of practice in which they have been trained.
IV Orthoptists treat all people with whom they have professional contact with loyalty and respect.
V Orthoptists are responsible for the public image of the profession and refrain from any action which might discredit themselves or their profession.
Principles of professional behaviour
1 Professional practice
1.1 Orthoptists must not discriminate on the grounds of social standing, race, religion, sex, etc. in the delivery of professional services.
They do not knowingly engage in behavior that is harassing or demeaning to persons with whom they interact in their work.
1.2 Orthoptists have a professional responsibility to evaluate the effectiveness of their work and modify their practice accordingly.
1.3 Orthoptists maintain and develop their knowledge throughout their careers and use this to enhance their practice.
1.4 Orthoptists liaise with others involved in the care of the patient. They participate in interdisciplinary frameworks.
1.5 Orthoptists do not allow their professional judgment to be influenced by the offer of gifts or money, or let their behavior or treatment of the patient be affected by financial interests or professional advancement.
1.6 Orthoptists seek to promote the profession and present orthoptics in a positive manner.
2.1 Orthoptists are to be able to communicate with patients, parents and other professionals and therefore have an adequate level of competence in the language in which they are practicing professionally.
2.2 Orthoptists must maintain strict professional confidentiality and should only seek and store information for the benefit of patient care.
2.3 Orthoptists maintain full records and must ensure that these data are adequately protected.
2.4 Orthoptists only advertise their professional activities in a restrained manner. Advertisement should not be false or misleading. Orthoptists do not make exaggerating claims in terms of personal skills or outcomes of treatment.
3 Education and research
3.1 Orthoptists involved in the education of students should deliver the highest standard possible in both academic and clinical aspects and ensure the professional competencies are achieved.
3.2 Orthoptists who undertake clinical training should provide adequate supervision of the student and assume full responsibility for the patient.
3.3 Orthoptists endeavor to increase knowledge through research and share research findings with colleagues. Research must conform to generally accepted scientific principles and care should be taken that ethical standards are maintained.
This document has been prepared by the members of the working party on ethics – Mirjam van Lammeren, Mireille Louly, Manuel Oliveira and Chris Timms – and has been approved by the General Assembly of the OCE on May 5, 2000.