We’d really like feedback on all of the consultation questions, however, you can choose to feedback on specific areas which are broken down on the right of this page.
Once you have completed your individual responses, you can head straight to the submission page.
If you would prefer to download the consultation form then please select the file below
We welcome comments on all areas of the proposed updated Osteopathic Practice Standards, but are particularly interested in views on the following areas:
A. Combining the standard of proficiency, Code of Practice and four themes of the Osteopathic Practice Standards
B. Clarity around the duty of candour, consent, boundaries, notes and modesty
C. Osteopathic principles and philosophy
D. Roles of osteopaths in public health and in relation to other health professionals
E. The content of the standards and guidance
We would like to collect some additional information about you to help us analyse our consultation responses. The GOsC is committed to promoting equality and diversity.
In order to do this successfully, it is important that our consultations are as inclusive as possible.
The following questions will help the GOsC in a number of ways, including:
The information you provide will only be used for the purposes of analysing the consultation responses.
Should you not wish to provide any particular aspects of the equality and diversity data, simply tick the 'Do not wish to state' box. If you are responding on behalf of an organisation, then please ignore these questions.
The Osteopaths Act 1993 requires the General Osteopathic Council to determine the standard of proficiency required for the competent and safe practice of osteopathy, and publish a Code of Practice laying down the standards of conduct and practice expected of osteopaths.
The current Osteopathic Practice Standards, in force since 2012, were the first to combine a standard of proficiency and Code of Practice into one document. However, they remain separately delineated causing repetition and lack of clarity.
The updated standards incorporate simultaneously both the standard of proficiency and the Code of Practice. This is intended to streamline their presentation, avoid repetition and help to improve navigability and clarity.
We have also retained the existing four themes of the Osteopathic Practice Standards:
These themes are familiar to osteopaths, and also map easily to those domains in place for other health professionals. They are also in place for our new continuing professional development (CPD) scheme due to be implemented in 2018, which will require osteopaths to undertake activities across these four themes within a three-year CPD cycle.
Feedback on the current Osteopathic Practice Standards indicated that there were some areas of repetition, and some standards that seemed better suited in a different theme. In the updated standards we have attempted to remedy this by deleting or combining some of the existing standards to avoid unnecessary repetition and to clarify their meaning. In this way, in the updated document, we have been able to reduce the number of standards from thirty seven to twenty nine.
We have also moved some of the existing standards from the ‘Safety and quality in practice’ theme (current C3-5) to ‘Communication and patient partnership’, or have combined with standards from that theme. Similarly, some current standards from ‘Professionalism’ seemed to relate more to ‘Safety and quality in practice’ (current D2, D11, D12, D13), or ‘Knowledge, skills and performance’ (D3) and have been moved accordingly.
We have also reviewed the language used throughout the document to improve its clarity, and to support the implementation of the standards in practice.
Subject to these changes and those referenced throughout this consultation, the updated standards remain consistent with the current standards, and map to those of other UK health professionals.
In relation to consent guidance, we have removed some of the more detailed content regarding the treatment of children, in an attempt to focus the guidance on key issues. These aspects are covered in our supplementary guidance Consent Guidance for Osteopaths. Headings have also been added to the consent guidance to improve navigability.
Current standard B1 states; ‘You must understand osteopathic concepts and principles, and apply them critically to patient care’. This drew some critique within responses to the 2016 call for evidence with some respondents stating that osteopathic principles are subjectively interpreted and therefore not universally agreed, understood or applied, nor unique to osteopathy. Some feedback suggested that therefore it was difficult to justify their inclusion in a ‘standard’ which summarises principles that apply to all osteopaths.
However, reference to osteopathic principles or philosophy is an important issue for other osteopaths. Many consider these as central to their osteopathic identity and practice, although ‘philosophy’ is not mentioned within the current Osteopathic Practice Standards. For some osteopaths and osteopathic groups, osteopathic philosophy provides the foundation from which osteopathic principles derive.
The issue is given that universal nature of the ‘standards’ and the more explanatory nature of the guidance, whether reference to osteopathic principles or philosophy should be contained within standards or guidance, or even referenced at all. Osteopathic principles and philosophy are owned and defined by the profession, not the regulator.
Since the current standards were implemented in 2012, the GOsC has published Guidance for Osteopathic Pre-registration Education which sets out the outcomes students are expected to meet in order to graduate with a Recognised Qualification (enabling them to apply for registration with the GOsC). The Quality Assurance Agency Subject Benchmark Statement for Osteopathy also sets out requirements in relation to osteopathic education. Both of these documents refer to the osteopathic principles and philosophy. On the other hand, the Osteopathic Practice Standards are also used to assess internationally qualified osteopaths onto the register, and ‘an understanding of the osteopathic philosophy and principles… and the ability to apply this knowledge critically in the care of patients’ is important to this.
There are a number of options in relation to the position of osteopathic principles in the proposed revised Osteopathic Practice Standards:
Advantages: this option may better preserve the nature of ‘osteopathy’ as distinct from other forms of manual therapy. For those osteopaths inclusion in the standards will fit much more comfortably with their practice.
Disadvantages: for those osteopaths for whom these are not a component of their osteopathic practice and identity, this option will not fit so comfortably with their practice. Interpretation and definition of osteopathic principles and philosophy in fitness to practise proceedings or educational curricula cannot be consistently applied or defined.
Advantage: the guidance would have a formal status, however, it would not necessarily be ‘universal’ in the way that standards should be. It would provide context, demonstrating what ‘appropriate knowledge and skills’ to support work as an osteopath should include.
Disadvantage: this may be seen as a symbolic downgrading of the value of osteopathic principles. Whilst this would not be the intention, it may be a perception affecting the application of the standards.
Advantage: osteopathic principles could then be truly owned and defined by the profession in a way that it would not be appropriate for the regulator to do.
Disadvantage of this option may be in the assessment of international qualifications. It may be argued that it would infringe on the integrity of the Register if there were no ‘osteopathic’ requirement within standards or guidance. This may allow non-osteopaths to be registered with us and impact on the reputation of the profession.
Taking into account these options, we are suggesting Option 2 in the updated Osteopathic Practice Standards which represents a balanced approach between both the importance of the osteopathic philosophy and principles and the fact that they are not universally regarded or applied in the profession.
We have referenced osteopathic principles within the guidance to B1 (You must have sufficient and appropriate knowledge to support your work as an osteopath). This now includes a statement that this knowledge should include ‘An understanding of osteopathic philosophy, principles and concepts of health, illness and disease, and the ability to critically apply this knowledge in the care of patients’.
B4: Standard D3 in the current Osteopathic Practice Standards states: ‘You must be capable of retrieving, processing and analysing information as necessary’.
We have modified the standard to ‘You must be able to analyse and reflect upon information related to your practice in order to enhance patient care’, and this is shown in the proposed revised standards, where this becomes B4 under ‘Knowledge, skills and performance’.
The current standard C8 requires that osteopaths ensure that their patient records are full, accurate and completed promptly.
This standard becomes C2 in the proposed updated Osteopathic Practice Standards. The guidance has been edited to enhance clarity, and an additional reference made to recording the presence, status and identity of any observer, as well as the patient’s consent to their presence.
Current Standard D2 states; ‘You must respond effectively to requirements for the production of high-quality written material and data’.
We have modified this standard as a new C3, linked it to record keeping and added reference in the guidance to the production of reports and information to support patient care and effective practice management.
Osteopaths are statutorily registered health professionals. Therefore, like other health professionals, osteopaths should contribute as part of the whole patient journey through healthcare. This should be reflected in terms of relationships with other health professionals, but also in terms of the ways in which osteopaths should signpost patients to information they need in the context of public health, for example, signposting resources on smoking cessation, osteoporosis or exercise.
Current standard D11 states; ‘Be aware of your role as a healthcare provider to promote public health’.
In the proposed draft revised Osteopathic Practice Standards, this becomes standard C6 under the ‘Safety and quality in practice’ theme. The suggestion is to modify the guidance to: ‘You should be aware of public health issues and concerns, and be able to discuss these impartially with patients, or guide them to resources or to other healthcare professionals to support their decision making regarding these.’
D16 of the current Osteopathic Practice Standards states ‘do not abuse your professional standing’. The guidance to this focuses largely on maintaining sexual boundaries with patients.
We have modified the standard (now D2) to specifically require osteopaths to establish and maintain clear professional boundaries with patients, and not to abuse their professional standing and position of trust, and have expanded the guidance to this standard.
D7 of the current Osteopathic Practice Standards state that osteopaths ‘must be open and honest when dealing with patients and colleagues and respond quickly to complaints’.
In the proposed revised standards we have divided this into two revised standards (D3 and D4) as it was felt that there were two issues here – the duty of candour and the managing of complaints. D3 now refers specifically to the duty of candour, and the related guidance reflects the joint statement on candour, signed by the Chief Executives of all UK healthcare regulators.
Current standard D6 regarding respecting patients’ rights to privacy and confidentiality has been expanded in an amended D5 in the proposed revised standards to also require osteopaths to effectively maintain and protect patient information.
The guidance has been updated, and sub headings included to enhance clarity and navigability.
In relation to current standard D1 (You must consider the contributions of other healthcare professionals to ensure best patient care) feedback indicated that this, and its guidance were not always clearly understood.
This standard becomes D10 (with slightly modified wording) in the proposed updated Osteopathic Practice Standards, and its guidance has been updated to emphasise an understanding of the contribution of osteopathy within the context of healthcare as a whole, and a collaborative approach to care, where appropriate. The aim is to emphasise that osteopaths are part of a larger community of healthcare professionals, and to reflect a respectful and collaborative approach with the patient at the centre.
Once you have completed your individual responses, please click on the 'Submit' button below.
You can use the section links on the right to navigate back through your consultation response