3.7 Ethical practice and accountability: individual practitioners’ responsibilities
The dynamics and working practices of many CAM practitioners mean the therapeutic encounters are rarely supervised and no one looks over the practitioner's shoulder. This places the responsibility to act ethically squarely with the individual practitioner. A European study of the practice of CAM states:
Ethical issues are just as pertinent for conventional and unconventional medicine, alike. The labelling of a therapy as natural does not provide an excuse for practitioners to set aside standards of behaviour and ethical practice that are expected of all who care for the well being of individuals.
(Research Council for Complementary Medicine, 1999)
Acting ethically means far more than following a code of ethics. Practitioners have individual ethical responsibilities towards their clients, and collective ethical responsibilities to foster and promote the ideals of the profession. This includes taking responsibility for the conduct of other practitioners, and exposing examples of misconduct or poor practice.