Quality, Safety, Professionalism

The Royal College of Chiropractors’ mission is to help support and assure quality, safety and professionalism in chiropractic practice, education and research.

The following explains what we mean by quality, safety and professionalism in relation to chiropractic practice, and some of the ways we help support their development and application:


Quality in Chiropractic Practice

Quality in chiropractic practice refers to the high-quality care that is expected by patients.

The Royal College of Chiropractors (RCC) believes quality in chiropractic practice is characterised by:

  • Patient-centred, evidence-based care1
  • Safe practice2
  • Active monitoring of performance and practice improvement3
  • Effective communication and teamwork4
  • Participation in continuing professional development5

The RCC’s Quality Standards are tools designed to help deliver the best possible outcomes for patients. They are a series of specific, concise quality statements with associated measures that provide aspirational, but achievable, markers of high-quality patient care covering the treatment of different conditions (https://rcc-uk.org/quality-standards/); The RCC’s Supportive Self Management Quality Standard focuses on patients with chronic conditions and their active involvement in shared decision-making and the support given to help them to make informed choices about their treatment and care (direct ref); The RCC’s new Chiropractic Practice Standard on Patient Communication addresses defines required practices and evidence-based guidance for effective and safe patient communication (https://rcc-uk.org/chiropractic-practice-standards/).

CPiRLS, the RCC’s Chiropractic Patient Incident Reporting and Learning System, is an online reporting and learning forum that enables chiropractors to share and comment on patient safety incidents. The essential details of submitted reports are published on this website for all chiropractors to view and add comments. A CPiRLS team identifies trends among submitted reports in order to provide feedback for the profession. Sharing information in this way helps to ensure the whole profession learns from the collective experience in the interests of patients (www.cpirls.org); The RCC’s Safe With Us initiative aims to nurture the development of a culture safety in every chiropractic clinic (https://rcc-uk.org/safe-with-us/).

The RCC’s Clinical Audit resources help chiropractors compare their processes and clinical practices to best practice, enabling identification of areas that require change and improving care quality (https://rcc-uk.org/clinical-audit/); The RCC’s Quality Marks help to assure high quality practice according to patient expectations, defined by the RCC Lay Partnership Group (https://rcc-uk.org/lay-partnership/), and the principles of clinical governance (https://rcc-uk.org/rcc-quality-marks/).

The RCC’s current live webinar series, culminating in the 2022 AGM/President’s Lecture, addresses key aspects of patient communication (https://rcc-uk.org/rcc-events/); The RCC’s new Chiropractic Practice Standard on Patient Communication addresses defines required practices and evidence-based guidance for effective and safe patient communication (https://rcc-uk.org/chiropractic-practice-standards/).

The RCC’s extensive CPD programme provides a broad range of live webinars, face-to-face training events and online learning to help chiropractors maintain and develop their knowledge and skills (https://rcc-uk.org/online-learning-modules/; https://rcc-uk.org/rcc-events/; https://rcc-uk.org/prt/); The RCC’s PRT programme supports chiropractic graduates during their crucial first year of professional development (https://rcc-uk.org/prt/).


Safety in Chiropractic Practice

Safe chiropractic practice refers to the avoidance of harm associated with care provision.

The Royal College of Chiropractors (RCC) believes safety in chiropractic practice is demonstrated by:

  • Involving and communicating effectively with patients and the public1
  • Integrating risk management activity
  • Implementing solutions to prevent harm2
  • Reporting and learning from safety incidents3
  • Developing a practice culture where safety comes first4

The RCC’s current live webinar series, culminating in the 2022 AGM/President’s Lecture, addresses key aspects of patient communication (https://rcc-uk.org/rcc-events/); The RCC’s new Chiropractic Practice Standard on Patient Communication addresses defines required practices and evidence-based guidance for effective and safe patient communication (https://rcc-uk.org/chiropractic-practice-standards/).

The RCC’s emergency referral form, developed for patients suspected of having a condition that requires immediate medical attention, includes the essential information required to facilitate A&E triage (https://rcc-uk.org/emergency-referral-form/).

CPiRLS, the RCC’s Chiropractic Patient Incident Reporting and Learning System, is an online reporting and learning forum that enables chiropractors to share and comment on patient safety incidents. The essential details of submitted reports are published on this website for all chiropractors to view and add comments. A CPiRLS team identifies trends among submitted reports in order to provide feedback for the profession. Sharing information in this way helps to ensure the whole profession learns from the collective experience in the interests of patients (www.cpirls.org).

The RCC’s Safe With Us initiative aims to nurture the development of a culture safety in every chiropractic clinic (https://rcc-uk.org/safe-with-us/).


Professionalism in Chiropractic Practice

Professionalism in chiropractic refers to chiropractors’ knowledge, skills and competencies, and how these are brought to bear in day-to-day practice.

The Royal College of Chiropractors (RCC) believes chiropractic professionalism is demonstrated by:

  • Exhibiting honesty, integrity and high ethical standards of conduct
  • Ensuring patient health, safety and welfare is paramount1
  • Communicating accurately and effectively with patients and colleagues2
  • Educating, informing and actively involving patients in their own care
  • Providing high quality clinical care and practice, applying evidence-based standards and guidance wherever possible3
  • Recognising your professional limitations
  • Maintaining appropriate relationships and boundaries
  • Protecting patient confidentiality
  • Maintaining and developing professional knowledge and skills4

CPiRLS, the RCC’s Chiropractic Patient Incident Reporting and Learning System, is an online reporting and learning forum that enables chiropractors to share and comment on patient safety incidents. The essential details of submitted reports are published on this website for all chiropractors to view and add comments. A CPiRLS team identifies trends among submitted reports in order to provide feedback for the profession. Sharing information in this way helps to ensure the whole profession learns from the collective experience in the interests of patients (www.cpirls.org); The RCC’s Safe With Us initiative aims to nurture the development of a culture safety in every chiropractic clinic (https://rcc-uk.org/safe-with-us/); The RCC’s first aid training guidance helps to ensure chiropractors are suitably prepared to deal with emergencies that may arise in their clinic (https://bit.ly/EFAW4C); The RCC’s Emergency Referral Form helps chiropractors refer patients suspected of having a condition that requires immediate medical attention – it includes the essential information required to facilitate A&E triage (https://rcc-uk.org/emergency-referral-form/).

The RCC’s Diploma in Pain management improves understanding of non-physical factors and how to develop the necessary language to record, discuss and  articulate findings/management approaches related to psychological and social aspects of clinical cases (https://bit.ly/3iZzSo8); The RCC’s online modules on motivational interviewing and OARS guide help chiropractors develop effective patient communication skills (https://rcc-uk.org/online-learning-modules/); The RCC’s current live webinar series, culminating in the 2022 AGM/President’s Lecture, addresses key aspects of communication and will help you meet your directed CPD requirement for 2021/22 (https://rcc-uk.org/rcc-events/); The RCC’s new Chiropractic Practice Standard on Patient Communication addresses defines required practices and evidence-based guidance for effective and safe patient communication (https://rcc-uk.org/chiropractic-practice-standards/).

The RCC’s Quality Standards are tools designed to help deliver the best possible outcomes for patients. They are a series of specific, concise quality statements with associated measures that provide aspirational, but achievable, markers of high-quality patient care covering the treatment of different conditions (https://rcc-uk.org/quality-standards/); New Chiropractic Practice Standards are also in development; The RCC Discovery Service provides access to the research literature with advances search tools and much full text (https://rcc-uk.org/rcc-discovery-service/).

The RCC’s PRT programme supports chiropractic graduates during their crucial first year of professional development (https://rcc-uk.org/prt/); The RCC’s extensive CPD programme provides a broad range of live webinars, face-to-face training events and online learning to help chiropractors maintain and develop their knowledge and skills ((https://rcc-uk.org/online-learning-modules/; https://rcc-uk.org/rcc-events/; https://rcc-uk.org/prt/); The RCC Library provides online access to a wide range of books with the option to suggest titles (https://rcc-uk.org/rcc-discovery-service/)