Code Of Professional Conduct

[as at 1st January 1999]

All COCA members shall comply with the Code of Professional Conduct of the College which is as follows:

1. Advertising

1.1 An advertisement must not in any way be:

  1. false, misleading or deceptive, or
  2. designed to mislead or deceive, or
  3. likely to bring the profession into disrepute.

1.2 Public spinal screenings or public displays may only be conducted under the terms and conditions of individual State and Territory legislation and guidelines.

1.3 COCA recognizes the classification of type “O” disorders as those diseases of the organs or viscera which have a clear or highly suspected pathological aetiology that can be attributed to one of the following pathological mechanisms:

  • infective
  • inflammatory
  • neoplastic
  • genetic
  • infiltrative
  • (psychiatric)
  • nutritional
  • toxic
  • metabolic
  • congenital
  • circulatory
  • auto-immune

Although there is anecdotal evidence, there is little scientific evidence available (such as randomised controlled trials) which validates the use of SMT in the treatment of type O disorders. This is not to say that future research will not demonstrate a limited utility for SMT in the management of some of these conditions. COCA encourages such research.


  1. If a patient with type “O” disorder wishes to consult a member in the hope that some relief can be obtained, and if such treatment is contemplated by the practitioner then there should be no contra-indications to SMT and patients should be encouraged to remain under medical care.
  2. Members should be careful to avoid conveying any certainty or should not make unsubstantiated claims with respect to the efficacy of treatment of Type “O” disorders using SMT. Ideally, they should communicate with and regularly consult the patient’s own medical practitioner. Although it is acknowledged that present medical attitudes may rule this type of co-operation out as a realistic possibility.
  3. The effectiveness of chiropractic or osteopathic treatment of patients with type “O” disorders is too unpredictable to warrant freedom for members to advertise that their treatment is effective in the treatment of these disorders, unless permission is granted by a State Registration Board for the advertisement.

2. Competence

2.1 Chiropractors and Osteopaths should acknowledge the boundaries of their competence and accept responsibility of providing only those services and techniques for which they are qualified by training and expertise.

2.2 Chiropractors and osteopaths should refer for more appropriate service those patients whose needs or requests are outside their professional competence.

2.3 Chiropractors and osteopaths should maintain their knowledge and skills to ensure continued competency.

3. Privacy & Confidentiality

3.1 Chiropractors and osteopaths, and their staff, must respect and maintain the privacy and confidentiality rights of patients.

3.2 Chiropractors and osteopaths should ensure appropriate patient confidentiality in creating, storing, transferring and disposing of all records under their control.

3.3 Chiropractors and osteopaths must not divulge confidential information about a patient unless:

  1. the patient or guardian specifically authorises in writing the release of that information;


  1. the release of that information is to protect the patient or others from harm;


  1. the release of that information is required by law. 4. Propriety and Ethics

4.1 Chiropractors and osteopaths must act with propriety in, and not breach, the trust arising from their professional relationships.

4.2 Chiropractors and osteopaths must respect ethical, religious, personal and political beliefs of patients.

4.3 Chiropractors and osteopaths must not exploit their patients in any way.

4.4 Chiropractors and osteopaths must not treat or care for patients whilst their ability is impaired by any mental or physical illness, alcohol or drugs. 5. Consent

5.1 Chiropractors and osteopaths should inform their patients at the commencement of a course of care, of the reasonably foreseeable implications, including material risks and complications and explain the nature and the purpose of the care.

5.2 Chiropractors and osteopaths should seek consent from their patients or guardians prior to any proposed course of treatment or care and should explain the likely cost implications.