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02-21-2008, 10:51 AM
The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) has written to The Times, The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph, correcting reports published on 5 January suggesting that the osteopathic profession was to be included in the proposed Natural Healthcare Council regulatory scheme.

The practice of Osteopathy - which includes cranial techniques - has been statutorily regulated in the UK for over ten years, by the GOsC. In common with the UK's eight other healthcare regulators, including the General Medical Council, the GOsC maintains strict standards of training, practice and conduct. Osteopaths who breach professional standards may have their registration denied and lose the right to legal practice.

GOsC Chief Executive & Registrar, Evlynne Gilvarry, says "Osteopaths are highly trained professionals and members of the public can have confidence in seeking treatment from them."

The Natural Healthcare Council

The Natural Healthcare Council is a new voluntary regulatory body that will regulate practitioners of the Alexander technique, Bowen technique, cranial therapy, homeopathy, massage therapy, naturopathy, nutritional therapy, shiatsu and yoga therapy. The regulatory body has been developed by the complementary therapy professions involved, with support and facilitation from the Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health, which was awarded funding for this purpose by the Department of Health. Practitioners of aromatherapy, reflexology and reiki may be eligible to join the register, although their professional bodies are not formally involved in the Natural Healthcare Council.

Acupuncturists and herbal medicine practitioners, including the majority of Chinese medicine practitioners, have been looking into the feasibility of statutory regulation for these professions and a joint working group will shortly present a report on the subject to the Department of Health.

For further information about the Natural Healthcare Council see here. (http://www.fih.org.uk/news/natural_healthcare.html)

The General Osteopathic Council

The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) exists to protect patients by promoting excellence in osteopathic care. The GOsC regulates, develops and promotes the profession of osteopathy by:

- Maintaining the definitive Register of those who have satisfied the GOsC that they can practise osteopathy safely and competently.

- Defining and maintaining high standards of education, training and clinical practice. Guiding osteopaths in standards of professional practice.

- Dealing promptly and effectively with osteopaths whose competence or fitness to practise is called into question.

- Promoting and developing the profession and practice of osteopathy.

The Statutory Register of Osteopaths

- Osteopaths are statutorily regulated health professionals and form an integral part of primary care teams.

- There are currently 3,985 osteopaths on the UK Statutory Register.

- The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) regulates, promotes and develops the osteopathic profession, maintaining a Statutory Register of those entitled to practise osteopathy in the United Kingdom.

- Only practitioners meeting the highest standards of safety and competency are eligible for registration. Proof of good health, good character and professional indemnity insurance cover are also requirements.

- It is an offence for anyone to describe themselves as an osteopath and practise as such, unless registered with the GOsC. The public can, therefore, be confident in visiting a registered osteopath that they will experience safe and competent treatment from a practitioner who adheres to a strict Code of practice: "13. (1) The General Osteopathic Council shall from time to time determine the standard of proficiency which, in its opinion, is required for the competent and safe practice of osteopath" (Osteopaths Act 1993).

Copies of Standard 2000 (S2K) are available from the GOsC on 020 7357 6655. - "Any patient consulting an osteopath is entitled to a high standard of care. The register of osteopaths exists so that members of the public can identify those who have demonstrated their ability to practise to the required standards" (extract from the GOsC 'Code of practice', GOsC, 2005).

- The 2008 Statutory Register of Osteopaths provides a geographical index of all practising osteopaths, and is available to healthcare providers and the general public. Printed copies will be available shortly from the GOsC. A current and searchable listing of osteopaths is available on the GOsC website: http://www.osteopathy.org.uk (http://www.osteopathy.org.uk/).

About Osteopathy

- Osteopathy uses many of the diagnostic procedures involved in conventional medical assessment and diagnosis. Its main strength lies in the unique way the patient is assessed holistically from a mechanical, functional and postural standpoint. Treatment is aimed at improving mobility and/or reducing inflammation by using gentle manual osteopathic techniques on joints, muscles and ligaments.

- Patients are given positive advice, related to their lifestyle, about how they use their body. Age is no barrier to osteopathy since each patient is assessed individually and treatment is gentle.

- Osteopaths treat a wide range of conditions, including changes to posture in pregnancy; infantile colic or sleeplessness, repetitive strain injury, postural problems caused by driving or work strain, glue ear in children, the pain of arthritis and sports injuries, amongst others.

General Osteopathic Council (http://www.osteopathy.org.uk/)