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New Code of Conduct for audiologists

Jan 20, 2021

On 1 January 2021, a new Code of Conduct for members of Audiology Australia (AudA) and the Australian College of Audiology (ACAud) was implemented. You can access the new Code of Conduct here https://auderc.org.au/code-of-conduct/

Members of Audiology Australia and the Australian College of Audiology must display, or make available, a Summary of the Code of Conduct (available here https://auderc.org.au/code-of-conduct/) and inform clients of how they can make a complaint.

The Code of Conduct for audiologists and audiometrists (the Code of Conduct) aligns with the National Code of Conduct for Health Care Workers. The Code of Conduct sets the fundamental standards of behaviour and responsibilities that members of AudA and ACAud must abide by. Every member of AudA and ACAud agrees to abide by this Code of Conduct.

The Ethics Review Committee (ERC) was established in July 2018 to enable a consistent approach to advice and the handling of complaints related to hearing services provided by AudA and ACAud members. The ERC promotes ethical and professional hearing services through providing advice, support and handling complaints. The ERC is responsible for handling complaints against members of AudA and ACAud according to the Complaints Management and Resolution Procedure.

The Ethics Officer provides support and advice to hearing professionals (audiologists and audiometrists) and members of the public. When needed, the Ethics Officer seeks input from the ERC when providing advice. The Ethics Officer is also the point of contact between the complainants, respondents and the ERC during the handling of complaints.

This Code of Conduct was first developed by AudA, ACAud and the Hearing Aid Audiology Society of Australia (HAASA) in 2016. The Code of Conduct was revised in 2020 through a collaboration between the Ethics Review Committee (ERC) and the Boards of AudA and ACAud. Feedback was also sought and received from members of AudA and ACAud and other key stakeholders. Revisions made as a result of the 2020 review were:

* Inclusion of a definition of acceptable evidence.

* Expansion of the definition of ethical conduct (1.1).

* Separation of requirement to cooperate with the ERC into stand-alone clause (1.2b).

* Separation of requirement not to claim to be able to cure hearing loss (1.2d) and the requirement to provide services to serve the needs of the client (1.2e).

* Clarification of the requirements to provide respectful care and not discriminate in new standalone Standard 2.

* Inclusion of requirements to disclose conflicts of interest (4.3 and 6.3e) and a definition of conflicts of interests.

* Expansion of Standard 7 to include professional and ethical behaviour in a broader professional context, not just interactions with clients or other healthcare workers.

* Inclusion of requirement on professional conduct when a client complains about another healthcare worker’s conduct (9.3).

* Grouping of all clauses related to advertising under Standard 8, including a new requirements related to testimonials and reviews stating terms and conditions of any offer.

* Clarification that inappropriate sexual behaviour is a breach of the Code of Conduct (15.2).

* Clarification that compliance with federal and state/territory laws and regulations includes complying with any contracts with, and related policies of, government funding agencies including, but not limited to, Medicare, the Hearing Services Program, the National Disability Insurance Agency, and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (16.1).

Further information and guidance on the Code of Conduct and the work of the ERC and Ethics Officer can be found at www.auderc.org.au.

The Ethics Officer can be contacted at ethics@auderc.org.au or (03) 9940 3911 for more information on interpreting this Code of Conduct or to make a complaint.

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