After a number of years of consultation, in July 2023 the ACT government passed legislation and a regulation (Human Rights Commission Regulation 2023) enacting the Code of Conduct for Health Workers in the ACT. The Code commences in the ACT on 7 January 2024. Members who provide health services in the ACT need to be familiar with the Code.

The Code provides for minimum standards of care in the provision of health services by health workers in the ACT.

This includes:

  • Providing safe and ethical care
  • Obtaining consent for treatment
  • Keeping appropriate records & protecting a patients privacy
  • Having appropriate insurance
  • Minimising harm and acting appropriately if something goes wrong

The Code also obliges health workers to NOT:

  • Mislead a patient about services, products or qualifications
  • Put a patient at risk due to a physical or mental health concern
  • Make false claims about curing serios illnesses such as cancer
  • Exploit patients financially
  • Discourage patients from seeking other health services or treatments
  • Have an inappropriate relationship or inappropriate boundaries with a patient

Health workers are any person providing a health service who is not a registered practitioner such as a doctor, nurse, dentist or one of the 15 registered practitioner groups regulated by the Australian health practitioner regulation Agency (Ahpra). This means health workers in the ACT from 7 January 2024 must comply with the Code when providing health services in the ACT.

A health service is a service provided in the ACT to someone (the service user) for any of the following purposes:

  • (a) assessing, recording, maintaining or improving the physical, mental or emotional health, comfort or wellbeing of the service user;
  • (b) diagnosing or treating an illness, disability, disorder or condition of the service user.

This includes massage therapists, laser therapy, counsellors and social workers, dieticians, nutritionists, doula’s, aged care & disability care workers, assistants in nursing and others. (This definition is provided for by section 7 of the ACT Human Rights Commission Act 2005.)

The introduction of the Code aligns the ACT with states that have already introduced the Code including NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia. From January 2024 patients accessing health services will be able to make a complaint to the ACT Human Rights Commission if the code is not adhered to when a health service is provided. Information about the Code is available at here.

The Code also requires health workers to display the Code where they are providing a health service. The requirement to display the Code may apply differently in institutional settings such as hospitals. Copies of the Code can be downloaded from the website or health workers can request copies of the Code by emailing us at

The Commission generally tries to resolve complaints about health services through a conciliation process. Where significant conduct issues are identified by a complaint or through other means the Commission can take more significant regulatory action such as placing conditions on a health workers practice or prohibiting a health worker from providing that service.

If you need further information you can call the Health Services Commissioner’s team on 02 6205 2222 or email us at