We have made changes to our standards on communication to ensure registrant responsibilities towards their colleagues, service users, carers and the public are clear
The way we communicate is continually evolving and our standards need to reflect this. We have made changes to encourage registrants to focus on what they say and the language they are using regardless of whether they are communicating with service users, carers and colleagues in person or on social media and networking sites.
Communicate with service users and carers
- 2.1 You must be polite and considerate.
- 2.2 You must listen to service users and carers and take account of their needs and wishes.
- 2.3 You must give service users and carers the information they want or need, in a way they can understand.
- 2.4 You must make sure that all practicable steps are taken to meet service users’ and carers’ language and communication needs.
- 2.5 You must use all forms of communication responsibly when communicating with service users and their carers.
Work with colleagues
- 2.6 You must work in partnership with colleagues, sharing your skills, knowledge and experience where appropriate, for the benefit of service users and carers.
- 2.7 You must share relevant information, where appropriate, with colleagues involved in the care, treatment or other services provided to a service user.
- 2.8 You must treat your colleagues in a professional manner showing them respect and consideration.
- 2.9 You must use all forms of communication with colleagues and other health and care professionals responsibly including media sharing networks and social networking sites.
Social media and networking sites
- 2.10 You must use media sharing networks and social networking sites responsibly.
- 2.11 You must make reasonable checks to ensure information you share is accurate, true, does not mislead the public and is in line with your duty to promote public health when sharing information on media sharing networks and social networking sites.
- 2.12 You must use media sharing networks and social networking sites responsibly, maintaining professional boundaries at all times and protecting service user/carer privacy.
Expectations of registrants:
- We have strengthened our requirements to support service users and carers and their language and communication needs by asking registrants to take practicable steps to meet these needs. This better reflects statutory principles to meet people’s needs and is also in line with recent changes to our standards of proficiency.
- We have clarified our expectations around communicating responsibly by explicitly referencing this in each section under Standard 2 (Communications with service users and carers, Work with colleagues, and Social media and networking sites). We want to encourage registrants to focus on the content of their communications, regardless of whether these are happening in person or through social media.
- We have added a new standard which covers treating colleagues in a professional manner showing them respect and consideration. We hope that this will help support a good working culture and positive relationships between colleagues.
- We have also added requirements for registrants to make reasonable checks to ensure information they share on social media and networking sites is accurate, true, does not mislead the public and is in line with their duty to promote public health. The proliferation of misinformation on social media has the potential to undermine public safety and we need to ensure that this is reflected in our standards.
Guidance on social media
To complement the revisions we have made to the standards of conduct, performance and ethics, we have updated our guidance on social media.
The guidance explains how to meet our standards when using social media in a professional and/or personal capacity. It sets out the areas of our standards which apply to the appropriate use of social media – challenge discrimination, maintain appropriate boundaries, communicate appropriately, respect confidentiality, and be honest and trustworthy.
Registrants have told us that when using social media in a professional capacity, they are able to:
- develop and share their skills and knowledge;
- help the public understand what they do;
- network with other professionals nationally and internationally; and
- raise the profile of their profession.
In a personal capacity, we have heard from registrants that social media is a helpful way to:
- connect with friends and family;
- share their personal views and opinions to other individuals; and
- gain better understanding of the world around them
Most registrants who use social media already do so responsibly, in line with our standards, and without any difficulties at all. However, we know that registrants sometimes have questions or concerns about using social media because they want to make sure they always meet our standards.
To support the consultation period, we hosted six workshops. These workshops explored each key theme of the consultation and provided an opportunity to ask questions about the revisions we have made.
You can watch a recording of the communication with colleagues, service users and carers workshop below.
The key changes in detail
The key changes in the revised standards conduct, performance and ethics can be grouped into a number of themes. The themes are: