Code of Professional Practice and Ethics
The Code outlines the standards of performance, conduct and ethics expected of Trichologists in the UK. Registered members and Registered students of the Institute of Trichologists must meet these standards to join and remain on our register.
The code is reviewed regularly to ensure that it is fit for purpose and encompasses the highest possible standards for patient care. Information is collected and reviewed continually and may result in updates at any time. This code has been drawn up by the Institute of Trichologists Board of Directors, complies with the company’s Articles of Association, and is referred to by the Registration Council when making decisions on sanctions or conditions for registrants.
Who is the Code for?
The Code is for any person with an interest in Trichology. In particular:
• Patients can use the Code to reassure themselves that they will receive a safe, high-quality standard of care.
• Trichologists can use the Code to reflect on and maintain their professionalism.
• Educators can use the Code to help students understand what it means to be a professional Trichologist.
It is the responsibility of all members to know the provisions of the current rules. Members shall comply with this Code of Professional Practice and Ethics and any other standards or regulations as directed by the Institute, which shall be binding at all times in their professional activities.
Failure by a member to adhere to the Code will result in disciplinary action. This will bring your fitness to practice into question and can endanger your registered member status. Gross negligence or misconduct will result in the name of the member being removed from the register and the appropriate authorities will be informed of such action. All privileges of membership will be withdrawn.
This Code applies to all classes of membership.
General Rules for Registered Members
1. A member’s prime concern must be for the welfare of the patient and the safety of the general public.
2. Members of the Institute of Trichologists shall conduct themselves at all times with dignity and behave in an honourable manner in their relations with patients, the general public, other members of the Institute, members of other professional bodies and other practitioners.
3. Members must act at all times in a manner which promotes public trust in the Trichologists’ knowledge, ability and judgement, and enhances the good standing and reputation of the profession.
4. In order to maintain a high standard of professional competence, members must regularly review their level of professional knowledge and expertise, and continually update their knowledge through professional journals, meetings and participation in continuing professional development and educational programmes recognised and promoted by The Institute of Trichologists.
5. Members must endeavour to co-operate with professional colleagues and members of other health professions for the benefit of their patients and the public.
6. A member must be honest, uphold the honour and dignity of the profession, act with integrity and not engage in any activity which may bring the profession into disrepute.
7. Where patients’ records, including names and addresses, are stored, each member must ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations, (GDPR) or if the registered member is outside of the UK, they should adhere to the standards for data protection legislation governing their country or location.
8. Members are responsible for their own personal malpractice insurance, negligence and third-party insurance.
9. Members must provide a copy of their current insurance certificate with their annual membership subscriptions. Appropriate indemnity insurance is a requirement of registration – failure to provide proof of insurance may result in temporary or permanent removal from the register.
10. Members’ names will be removed from the Institute of Trichologists members register and they will not be permitted to use the designated letters after their name if their annual fees are not paid within one month of the due date or they fail to maintain adequate current Insurance.
11. Members must immediately advise the Institute and their insurance company of any official enquiry into their practice from whatever source.
12. All members must maintain exemplary standards of professional conduct. As a professional you are personally accountable for your actions in your practice. You must always act within the law whether those laws relate to your practice or your personal life. All practices within the UK must adhere to The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, those registered members outside of the UK must adhere to the relevant Health and Safety Legislation for their country or location.
13. Registrants are required to act in line with the professional “Duty of Candour” accompanying guidance can be found here. Registered Trichologists must be open and honest with patients when something goes wrong with their treatment or care which causes, or has the potential to cause, harm or distress.
This means that registered Trichologists must:
• tell the patient (or, where appropriate, the patient’s advocate, carer or family) when something has gone wrong;
• apologise to the patient (or, where appropriate, the patient’s advocate, carer or family)
• offer an appropriate remedy or support to put matters right (if possible)
• explain fully to the patient (or, where appropriate, the patient’s advocate, carer or family) the short and long-term effects of what has happened
Registered Trichologists must also be open and honest with their colleagues, employers and relevant organisations, and take part in reviews and investigations when requested. They must also be open and honest with their regulators, raising concerns where appropriate. They must support and encourage each other to be open and honest, and not stop someone from raising concerns.
14. Courtesy, patience and understanding should be shown to patients and the general public at all times. The patients’ and general public’s welfare must be paramount at all times. Members should be aware of the limits of their competence and be ready to refer the patient for further investigation when necessary.
15. Registrants are required to adhere to the ‘Code of Professional Practice and Ethics on safeguarding responsibilities when treating children or vulnerable adults’. accompanying guidance can be found here.
16. A member shall keep accurate and appropriate records of all patients, their treatments and prescriptions, and any such record shall be held safely and securely for seven years after the patient’s last consultation or treatment. In the event that the member’s practice is transferred for whatever reason to another member, all such records shall be similarly In the event of a member ceasing to practice, all patient records shall be submitted to the Institute for safe keeping, where they will be retained for seven years prior to destruction. All data held must comply with General Data Protection Regulation within the UK, or relevant country or location legislation to members outside of the UK.
17. A member is entitled to charge a deposit, or full fee for a consultation or treatment but may not charge for courses of clinical treatments in advance of seeing or treating a patient.
18. No member shall corruptly offer or accept any gift or other inducement.
19. Consultations with patients should, wherever possible be carried out face to face with a physical examination of the hair and scalp to facilitate a diagnosis being made. A consultation should last for between 45 minutes and 1 hour. No treatments, products or medications should be supplied to a patient or member of the public without a full consultation having taken place first. In exceptional circumstances registered members are permitted to carry out a video consultation, this should follow the exact same format as a face-to-face consultation but will not allow in depth examination of the hair and scalp. It is possible to accurately diagnose some conditions without physical examinations of the hair and scalp; however certain conditions do need a hands-on examination to take place. Any video diagnosis must be clear in its limitations and must not mislead the patient or member of the general public in any way. Video Consultations should last between 30 minutes and 45 minutes.
20. A member may not disclose information obtained in confidence from a patient to anyone without prior consent from the patient or the appropriate guardian unless the interest of the patient or the Law requires such disclosure.
21. Patient records are to be kept confidential at all times and access restricted to the member, clinical assistant and patient.
22. Members may accept patients who have been receiving treatment from other Trichology practitioners, whether they are registered members of The Institute of Trichologists or other organisations. No member must pass comment or judgement of another member or practitioners competence, if the patient has a complaint, they should be encouraged to complete the complaints process to allow an independent investigation to take place. A registered member can write to another registered member or Trichologist to request patient notes, with the permission of the patient, if that patient has elected to change practitioner. Wherever possible, members and non-members should co-operate with information requests to safeguard the patient and members of the public.
23. A member who has been or is employed as a Trichologist shall not in any way induce or attempt to induce any patient to leave the care of that employer.
24. All registered members must commit to ongoing professional development, as such a minimum of 5 Recognised Continual Professional Development, (CPD) points need to be accumulated annually. Any registered member who undertakes additional education and qualifications for use within their Trichology Practice may submit these to the Institute of Trichologists for approval to add to their members Listing which details each members levels of competence.
25. Use of registered members logos and post-nominal designatory letters awarded to the individual member are solely for the use with the registered members name, they cannot be used to credit a business, other practitioners or clinics generally. Websites belonging solely to a registered member may display the logo and letters, however a website listing the registered member as part of their team can only use the logo and letters attached directly to the registered members name. If regulations relating to annual membership fee payment, attendance at CPD events and practitioner Insurance are breached, then the use of the logos and designatory letters will be prohibited, and the member removed from the published register.
General Rules for Registered Students
26. Students may be registered student members with The Institute of Trichologists, via their acknowledged Education Provider. They must adhere to the Student Policies and Procedures detailed by their individual educational bodies in terms of completing academic and clinical work and passing designated examinations or submitting portfolios of evidence to gain qualifications to move to registered member status.
27. Registered students must at all times take the safety of the general public, patients and colleagues as their number one priority.
28. No registered student may offer clinical consultations, (unless part of their training and with supervision), without achieving the Educational Standard required to do so, nor may they use any letters after their name, unless they have achieved the necessary qualifications to do so, and these are clearly documented on the registered members website.
29. Student members of the Institute of Trichologists shall conduct themselves at all times with dignity and behave in an honourable manner in their relations with the general public, other members of the Institute, members of other professional bodies and other practitioners.
30. Student members may not disclose information obtained in confidence from an Educational Body or details of any patient seen during their clinical training, to anyone without prior consent from the Educational Body or patient or the appropriate guardian unless the interest of the patient or the Law requires such disclosure.
31. Registered student members will be clearly identified to the general public as students. All Educational Providers will be clearly listed, with details of the educational standards, accreditation and area of clinical competence detailed and easily accessed for the general public and those considering taking up education to become registered members.
32. Registered students will only become registered members on the successful completion of their education requirements and subsequent application to the Institute of Trichologists to become a registered member.
Relationship with the Medical Profession and other Health Professionals
33. Although Trichology has the potential to treat a wide variety of conditions, it may not always be the most appropriate treatment. Where members feel this is the case, they should advise their patients of other therapeutic options and refer them to the medical profession or other health care professionals.
34. Members must not disparage the professional services of other Trichologists or health care professionals, nor make claims of superiority, either expressed or implied.
35. Members shall maintain a readiness to consult professional colleagues when appropriate.
36. Registered members based in the UK should comply with the Local Council Regulations and advice of the Environmental Health Officers regarding adequate facilities, such as heating, lighting, ventilation, toilets, electrical installations, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. Outside of the UK, registered members must consult with and comply with advice and regulations as legislation determines in their country or location.
37. Working conditions must be arranged so as to protect the safety of the public and those people working on the premises. Registered members based in the UK must be aware of their responsibilities under Health and Safety Legislation, registered members outside of the UK should adhere with the legislation that is relevant to Health and Safety at work in their country or location.
38. A First Aid kit must be available at all times in clinics. Reference should be made to the Shops and Offices Act of the country in which members’ practice.
39. A regular review of the facilities and working practices should be carried out to ensure they comply with current standards. Registered members based in the UK should be aware of their responsibilities under Health and Safety legislation, registered members based outside the UK must adhere to Law and Legislation relating to safe working practices for their country or location, this applies to employer, employee or self-employed.
40. No registered member within the UK should use the title Doctor in their Trichological advertising unless entitled as a registered member with The General Medical Counsel. Registered members outside of the UK must only use the title Doctor in line with the legislation covering this term in their country or location. to do so in their country of abode. If the title of Doctor is used in other forms of advertising, then it must be stated clearly what the qualification refers to (e.g. PhD).
41. Advertising must not mislead the general public in any way, all benefits and services offered, and products referred to must be supported by medical or scientific research.
42. Advertisements by registered members should not claim or imply superiority over other professional services.
43. Registered members may not endorse or promote any products using their registered member status or the name of The Institute of Trichologists.
44. Registered members may offer expert consultancy to product development and may also comment on specific hair and scalp related questions and concerns in an educational and expert capacity.
45. Registered members are prohibited from claiming cures to named conditions in compliance with the laws of the country where they practice.
46. Registered members must ensure that all advertisements and other public pronouncements with which his or her name, or the name under which he or she practices, is associated are not such as would bring the Institute or the profession of Trichology into disrepute. Specifically, a member shall adhere to accepted advertising practice and to any ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority.
47. Registered members who use their name in connection with advertisement or promotion, by or for any establishment or practice, must ensure that they adhere to the Code of Professional Practice and Ethics. In respect of any patient visiting or consulting that establishment or practice, notwithstanding that the patient may not have consulted or have been treated by that member; and if any complaint from any such patient is received by the Institute, that member will be responsible under the terms of the Code as if the member had dealt personally with that patient.
Conflict of interest
48. When competing interests impair our ability to make objective, unbiased business decisions we have a conflict of interest. You may face a conflict of interest when your professional duties as a member of the Institute of Trichologists and your personal interests diverge. Conflicts may take the form of financial interests in a supplier’s or customer’s business, recruiting a close family member or engaging in employment outside the Institute.
49. As a member, you are expected to:
a) Maintain the highest possible standard of integrity in all your business relationships, both inside and outside the organisation in which you work.
b) Reject any business practice which might reasonably be deemed improper (including improper practices which might benefit the Institute).
c) Never use your authority or position for personal gain.
d) At all times, act with impartiality, independence and integrity.
e) Avoid being, or giving the appearance of being, in a position which may result in an actual or perceived detriment to the Institute’s reputation and/or interests.
50. You must disclose or seek direction on any issues which may potentially conflict with your responsibilities to the Board of Directors.
51. You will not be permitted to engage in transactions on behalf of the Institute of Trichologists with organisations or individuals with which you have an interest. All decision making and transactions with the organisation concerned will be handled and managed independently.
52. It is not possible to define all situations or relationships which may create a conflict of interest, so each situation must be evaluated individually. However, some of the more obvious conflicts include:
a) Having any interest, dealings or shareholdings in any business which is a competitor, customer or supplier of the Institute of Trichologists, or is seeking to become one.
b) A close family member (including children, in-laws, partner or spouse) having any interest, dealings or shareholdings in any business which is a competitor, customer or supplier of the Institute of Trichologists, or is seeking to become one.
c) Having a close or longstanding relationship/friendship with a business which is a competitor, customer or supplier of the Institute of Trichologists or is seeking to become one.
d) Using confidential information obtained through your membership of the Institute of Trichologists for your own personal gain.
e) Using confidential information obtained through your membership of the Institute of Trichologists in order to set up a competitor.
f) Receiving a gift or payment from a company which is associated with the Institute of Trichologists.
53. In all cases, individuals have a responsibility to assess the potential conflict. Potential or actual conflicts of interest must be disclosed.
54. Disclosure must be made in writing to the Board of Directors as soon as the member becomes aware of a potential or actual conflict.
55. If you are in any doubt as to whether a conflict of interest exists discuss the situation with the Board of Directors.
56. If you have any problems recording your conflict of interest, please inform the Board of Directors.
57. Failure to disclose, or avoid an actual conflict of interest may, at the absolute discretion of the board, result in:
a) the members name being removed from the Institute of Trichologists member’s register,
b) legal action being taken wherever appropriate; and,
c) they will not be permitted to use the designated letters after their name.
IT Etiquette & Use of Social Media
58. IT has become part of everyday life and as such will be used widely by registered members, the Code of Professional Practice and Ethics would ask every registered member to ensure that:
• Digital Photographs used in patient diagnosis and stored in their records are only taken with the express permission of the patient.
• Photographs taken on Smart Phones are transferred to secure storage and deleted from the Smart Phone within 24 hours of taking the image.
• Online communications are used as the most appropriate method of communication unless a patient or member of the public request’s written communications as their sole or preferred method.
• Texts are typed in full, avoiding the use of text abbreviations, which some patients and Members of the Public may not be familiar with or understand.
59. The use of online social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, My Space, Bebo and others) is common on a professional level. Any information posted on these platforms, by registered members, must not make reference to their employer, employees, patients or members of the public, whether posted in from home or place of work. Any derogatory references posted by a registered member that relates to The Institute of Trichologists, employers, colleagues, patients or members of the public can result in disciplinary action including removal from the members register.
60. Social Media sites should not be used to discuss individual patient concerns to achieve diagnosis by consensus, this is not professional or acceptable in any form. If a registered member is unable to diagnose a condition, they should seek advice from The Institute of Trichologists, who will not only provide professional guidance, but may recommend further clinical education to prevent the situation recurring.
61. Sharing research, ideas and interesting facts is encouraged via the Official Institute of Trichologists Facebook Page and Website, this is professional and helps other registered members to learn and develop.
62. Social Media Sites used by registered members must not bring the member, or other registered members into disrepute, use of language should be moderated at all times, with no comments being posted that could be construed as “abusive”. The posting of photographs should only take place with express permission to post and share these.
63. Registered members should not access any Social Media sites for illegal content at any time.
64. Frequency of Social Media Posts to registered members and the general public should be carefully considered so as not to be intrusive, the registered members Facebook Page will be moderated to prevent this from happening to registered members.
65. Any complaints or concerns about registered members use of Social Media should be sent via the complaints form on the website, it will be independently investigated and findings and proposals for resolutions and corrective actions will be communicated to the complaint in line with the complaints procedure.
66. Emails should not include or access potentially offensive, abusive or pornographic content.
67. Emails should not include any derogatory or sensitive comments relating to the business, your employer, colleagues or patients.
68. You must not download any material which breaks copyright legislation.
69. You must not download any offensive or pornographic material.
70. Any breaches of this policy may result in disciplinary action including removal from the members register.
71. You should not add Institute of Trichologists patients to your personal social network site.
IOT Board of Governors