Osteopathy is a primary healthcare profession in the UK, and is regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC), as set out in the Osteopaths Act 1993.
The GOsC maintains the Register of those qualified to practise osteopathy in the UK. As part of this process, the GOsC checks that osteopaths are suitably qualified, have current professional indemnity insurance, remain in good health and of good character and have met mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.
The title 'osteopath' is protected by law, and only those included on the statutory Register are entitled to practise as osteopaths. Unregistered practice is a criminal offence in the UK.
It is the role of the GOsC to set and regularly review the standards of practice and conduct expects of osteopaths. These standards are currently outlined in the Osteopathic Practice Standards. Failure to comply with these standards may results in proceedings being brought against an osteopath.
Osteopathic students follow a four or five-year degree course combining academic and clinical work. Qualifications generally take the form of a four or five-year degree course - BSc(Hons), BOst or BOstMed - or a master's degree in osteopathy (MOst). The GOsC scrutinises the quality of all UK osteopathy course leading to registration to ensure that education providers are equipping students to practise safely and competently as osteopaths. A guide to the standards of osteopathic education are provided in the Osteopathic Benchmark statement, developed by the independent Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in conjunction with the GOsC and the osteopathy training providers.
In order to register to practise osteopathy in the UK, students must graduate with a qualification that is recognised by the GOsC. There are currently 11 higher education providers delivering
GOsC-accredited osteopathic training courses. Non-UK qualified osteopaths are able to apply to join the GOsC Register via a different process, more information is available here.
More information about the standards of osteopathic care in the UK and the work of the General Osteopathic Council is available via the GOsC's website at: www.osteopathy.org.uk
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