Standards and Requirements for Osteopaths

The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) that regulates all UK osteopaths publishes a code of practice and standard of proficiency with all osteopaths must follow. This means that you will always know the standard of care that you should expect from your osteopath.

Code of Practice

The osteopaths code of practice is also know as the code of ethics as it sets out the professionalism expected of every practising osteopath. The code includes guidelines as far reaching as hygiene, communication skills and discrimination acts and further highlights the need for all osteopaths to be registered with the General Osteopathic Council in order to practice in the UK. All osteopaths must adhere to this code of practice which means that you can always expect a certain level of professionalism and care from your osteopath. The code of practice includes guidelines on:

  • The osteopath-patient relationship
  • Patient autonomy (your right to be involved in decisions about your osteopathic treatment)
  • Working in a way that justifies the trust that you (as a patient) place on your osteopath
  • Patient confidentiality
  • The osteopathic practice environment (i.e. how the osteopathic clinic is set up, arranged and managed)
  • Training osteopathy students and more junior osteopaths

If you feel that your osteopath is not working to the standard expected in the codes you could report them to the General Osteopathic Council where they would undergo proceedings to check their fitness to practise.

Standard of Proficiency

The standard of proficiency regulates the knowledge and clinical skills required of each osteopath working in the UK in order to ensure that every registered osteopath is competent to practise osteopathy in a safe and effective manner. It includes guidelines on the physical treatment given (the osteopathic palpation technique), treatment monitoring and post treatment care (such as promoting changes in lifestyle). Minimum standards are also required in communication and data handling skills and the published document also describes requirements that are more related to private osteopathy clinics such as management of the osteopathic environment.

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