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Code of Conduct for NHS Managers: October 2002

As an NHS manager, I will observe the following principles:

  • make the care and safety of patients my first concern and act to protect them from risk;
  • respect the public, patients, relatives, carers, NHS staff and partners in other agencies;
  • be honest and act with integrity;
  • accept responsibility for my own work and the proper performance of the people I manage;
  • show my commitment to working as a team member by working with all my colleagues in the NHS and the wider community;
  • take responsibility for my own learning and development.

This means in particular that:

1 I will:

  • respect patient confidentiality;
  • use the resources available to me in an effective, efficient and timely manner having proper regard to the best interests of the public and patients;
  • be guided by the interests of the patients while ensuring a safe working environment;
  • act to protect patients from risk by putting into practice appropriate support and disciplinary procedures for staff; and
  • seek to ensure that anyone with a genuine concern is treated reasonably and fairly.

2 I will respect and treat with dignity and fairness, the public, patients, relatives, carers, NHS staff and partners in other agencies. In my capacity as a senior manager within the NHS I will seek to ensure that no one is unlawfully discriminated against because of their religion, belief, race, colour, gender, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, age, social and economic status or national origin. I will also seek to ensure that:

  • the public are properly informed and are able to influence services;
  • patients are involved in and informed about their own care, their experience is valued, and they are involved in decisions;
  • relatives and carers are, with the informed consent of patients, involved in the care of patients;
  • partners in other agencies are invited to make their contribution to improving health and health services; and
  • NHS staff are:
    - valued as colleagues;
    - properly informed about the management of the NHS;
    - given appropriate opportunities to take part in decisionmaking.
    - given all reasonable protection from harassment and bullying;
    - provided with a safe working environment;
    - helped to maintain and improve their knowledge and skills and achieve their potential; and
    - helped to achieve a reasonable balance between their working and personal lives.

3 I will be honest and will act with integrity and probity at all times. I will not make, permit or knowingly allow to be made, any untrue or misleading statement relating to my own duties or the functions of my employer.

I will seek to ensure that:

  • the best interests of the public and patients/clients are upheld in decision-making and that decisions are not improperly influenced by gifts or inducements;
  • NHS resources are protected from fraud and corruption and that any incident of this kind is reported to the NHS Counter Fraud Services;
  • judgements about colleagues (including appraisals and references) are consistent, fair and unbiased and are properly founded; and
  • open and learning organisations are created in which concerns about people breaking the Code can be raised without fear.

4 I will accept responsibility for my own work and the proper performance of the people I manage. I will seek to ensure that those I manage accept that they are responsible for their actions to:

  • the public and their representatives by providing a reasonable and reasoned explanation of the use of resources and performance;
  • patients, relatives and carers by answering questions and complaints in an open, honest and well researched way and in a manner which provides a full explanation of what has happened, and of what will be done to deal with any poor performance and, where appropriate giving an apology; and
  • NHS staff and partners in other agencies by explaining and justifying decisions on the use of resources and give due and proper consideration to suggestions for improving performance, the use of resources and service delivery.

I will support and assist the Accountable Officer of my organisation in his or her responsibility to answer to Parliament, Ministers and the Department of Health in terms of fully and faithfully declaring and explaining the use of resources and the performance of the local NHS in putting national policy into practice and delivering targets.

For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in paragraphs two to four of this Code requires or authorises an NHS manager to whom this Code applies to:

  • make, commit or knowingly allow to be made any unlawful disclosure;
  • make, permit or knowingly allow to be made any disclosure in breach of his or her duties and obligations to his or her employer, save as permitted by law.

If there is any conflict between the above duties and obligations and this Code, the former shall prevail.

5 I will show my commitment to working as a team by working to create an environment in which:

  • teams of frontline staff are able to work together in the best interests of patients;
  • leadership is encouraged and developed at all levels and in all staff groups; and
  • the NHS plays its full part in community development.

6 I will take responsibility for my own learning and development. I will seek to:

  • take full advantage of the opportunities provided;
  • keep up to date with best practice; and
  • share my learning and development with others.

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