For the last sixty years, osteopaths had worked within a system of voluntary regulation that set standards of training and practice.
In 1993, under the Osteopaths Act, osteopathy became the first complementary health care profession to be accorded statutory recognition. The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) has been set up, which opened its statutory register of osteopaths in May 1998.
The GOsC is now responsible for regulating the osteopathic profession in the UK and also for promoting and developing osteopathy. It has been given powers by Parliament to set standards of education and conduct and to maintain a register of those entitled to practise osteopathy.
Further information can be found on the GOsC website .
Education and Training of Osteopaths
The GOsC has a legal duty to determine the Standard of Proficiency required for the competent and safe practice of osteopathy and ensure that qualifications awarded by any educational institution in osteopathy reach that Standard. From time to time the Standard will be reviewed, and may be varied, as the profession develops.
The GOsC has appointed a Registrar who has the responsibility for creating and maintaining a register of those entitled to practise osteopathy. From May 2000, only those entered on this register will be entitled to call themselves osteopaths. The first statutory register was published in April 1999 (and thereafter annually). A searchable listing of Registered Osteopaths is available on the GOsC's internet site: www.osteopathy.org.uk
Members of the public can also obtain up-to-date details of an osteopath's registration or general information on osteopaths practising in a particular location by telephoning the Osteopathic Information Service on 020 7357 6655
Osteopaths currently in practice, in order to be entered on the register, must satisfy the Registrar that they are of good character and health and must provide evidence of having practised osteopathy lawfully, safely and competently.
Thereafter, from May 2000, entry to the register can only be achieved by obtaining a qualification in osteopathy recognised by the GOsC (and satisfying the Registrar as to good health and character).
At all times, Registered Osteopaths must follow high standards of professional conduct and behaviour and will commit to a programme of continuing professional development. Standards of Conduct for osteopaths are set out in the Code of Practice 'Pursuing Excellence'.
Fitness to Practice
The GOsC has legal powers to consider cases where it is alleged that an osteopath:
- Has been guilty of unacceptable conduct
- Has been guilty of professional incompetence
- Has been convicted of a criminal offence
- Is unable to practise properly as an osteopath because of a physical or mental condition.
The GOsC's duty is to protect the public and maintain the reputation of the profession. In the most serious cases of misconduct or incompetence, where the allegation can be successfully proved, the osteopath's name can be struck off the register, or he or she can be suspended, or conditions may be imposed on practising.
In other instances, complaints can be resolved through informal conciliation, or an osteopath can be given advice or training so as to prevent similar problems or misunderstandings arising in the future.
However, the GOsC does not have the power to order an osteopath to compensate a client, or to pay a fine. Allegations of negligence should be made to the osteopath concerned, and his insurer. Every registered osteopath in practice must, by law, carry professional indemnity insurance.
Osteopaths are always happy to explain the nature of any treatment proposed or given. If you have any worries or concerns, please talk them through with him or her in the first instance.
Monday to Friday
8:45am to 5.45pm
The title 'osteopath' is protected by law. It is against the law for anyone to call themselves an osteopath unless they are registered with the GOsC, which sets and promotes high standards of competency, conduct and safety. Anne and Catherine are both listed on the on the GOsC Register.