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Section 1: Relationships with Patients and Carers

1.1. You must provide the best compassionate care for patients based on up to date evidence.

The best care means that patients can be assured that your practice in undertaking examinations and/or treatments is compassionate, optimal and based on best evidence. Often, this is expressed in locally agreed protocols that aid and support clinical practice, judgement and decision making for each examination or treatment. Best compassionate care also means that patients’ safety is paramount, including measures to control infection, radiation safety and general health and safety.

Resources & Links

Health Care Associated Infections (HCAIs) Practical Guidance and Advice 2006

The Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (IRR'99): Guidance Booklet 2012

IR(ME)R 2000 and IR(ME) Amendment Regulations 2006 & 2011

Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000

Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010

SoR Website page

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and associated regulations

Health and Safety at Work (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 1998

Towards Safer Radiotherapy NPSA 2008

Safety in Magnetic Resonance Imaging 2013


1.2. You must practise in an anti-discriminatory manner, giving compassionate care that takes account of socio-cultural differences and ensuring that children, the elderly and other vulnerable groups are protected.

The United Kingdom is a multi-cultural society with many different religious and ethnic groups. You must be aware of the potential impact of different values and beliefs on the way that you practise, for example in relation to care given by people of a different gender. Similarly, you need to be aware that vulnerable groups such as the elderly or disabled need additional consideration.

Resources & Links

The Equalities Act 2010

Northern Ireland: differences between GB and NI Law

Individual legislation relating to Equalities in Northern Ireland

Intimate Examinations and Chaperone Policy 2011

Consent to Imaging and Radiotherapy Treatment Examinations 2007

The Child & the Law: The Roles & Responsibilities of the Radiographer 2005

Consent and Adults with Impaired Capacity 2010


1.3. You must listen to and respect the wishes of patients, seeking to empower them to make decisions about their care and treatment.

Working in partnership with patients is more than just giving appropriate information before undertaking examinations or treatment. It means transferring the decision-making to them, respecting their autonomy to make decisions about their own care or treatment and advocating with others on their behalf even if you do not agree with their decision. Full and truthful answers must be given to any question reasonably asked by the patient.

Resources & Links

Patient Advocacy 2008

Consent to Imaging and Radiotherapy Treatment Examinations 2007


If you perform any examination or treatment without a person’s consent, you are committing a criminal offence. Consent may be verbal or written, implied or explicit. However it is obtained, you must be certain that your patient has the capacity to consent voluntarily to examination or treatment. In the case of mental incapacity, the provisions of the current relevant mental capacity or competence legislation must be adhered to. 

Resources & Links

Consent to Imaging and Radiotherapy Treatment Examinations 2007

Consent and Adults with impaired capacity 2010

Student radiographers and trainee assistant practitioners: verifying patient identification and seeking consent 2010

Mental Capacity Act 2005

Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000

Revised codes of practice, Scotland 2008.


1.5. You must communicate effectively and appropriately with patients, introducing yourself and giving relevant information during their examination or treatment.

Communication is a dialogue between individuals that depends on clear expression and reciprocal listening and hearing. You may need to check what the patient has heard and adjust your communication style to meet the needs of different patient groups, such as those for whom English is not a first language, or hearing impaired people. In Wales, English and Welsh is equal in status and patients must be enabled to communicate in Welsh.

Resources & Links

Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011

A living language: a language for living; Welsh Language Strategy 2012–17


1.6. You must respect patient confidentiality at all times and adhere to the provisions of current data protection legislation.

Respecting patient confidentiality means that information may only be shared with a third party if they are directly involved in their care. The use of social media such as Facebook™ or Twitter™ to publicise thoughts, actions and feelings can increase the risk of breaking patient confidentiality. You need to take extra care and act with absolute discretion at all times.

Resources & Links

Patient Identification, Confidentiality and Consent: Further Guidance 2009

Consent to Imaging and Radiotherapy Treatment Examinations 2007

Data Protection Act 1998

Human Rights Act 1998


1.7. You must promote and protect the best interests of your patients at all times, giving due recognition to the views of carers where appropriate.

You have a duty of confidentiality to patients and must not share information about their condition with carers without their express consent. Carers may be able to provide valuable contextual information but you must take care not to breach patient confidentiality when speaking to them. If carers have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), this gives them certain rights to make decisions on behalf of the patient.

Resources & Links

Patient Advocacy 2008

Consent and Adults with impaired capacity 2010

Mental Capacity Act 2005

Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000

Revised codes of practice, Scotland 2008.

Team working in Clinical Imaging 2012 (SCoR and RCR)


Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998

The Public Interest Disclosure (Northern Ireland) Order 1998


1.8. You must not engage in a personal relationship with any patient or use your position to exploit them sexually, emotionally, socially or financially.


1.9. You should, if possible, avoid providing care or treatment to anyone with whom you have a close personal relationship.

A close personal relationship is defined as partner, spouse, child, parent, sibling or close friend.

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