Regulation and recognition
Like GPs and nurses, osteopaths are a regulated healthcare profession. They are also recognised by NHS England as one of the 14 allied health professions (AHPs) assuring you of the same high level of care as would be expected from other AHPs, such as podiatrists, physiotherapists and paramedics.
By law, an osteopath must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) who regulate the profession in the UK.
As regulated and recognised healthcare professionals, you can be confident that your osteopath is well qualified will adhere to a set of clinical standards that protect patients’ safety and dignity and, like any other health professional, recommend and apply the most appropriate course of treatment for you – which includes referring you to other healthcare professionals, as appropriate.
It is against the law to call yourself an osteopath unless you are qualified and registered with the GOsC. You can check whether an osteopath is registered by visiting the GOsC website.
Training and registration
Patient care and safety are of paramount importance to the osteopathic profession as evidenced by its rigorous training and registration requirements.
Osteopaths are trained to degree standard attaining either a Batchelor of Science (BSc.) or integrated Masters (MOst.) taking four to five years of study. This includes undertaking a minimum of 1000 hours of patient contact prior to qualification. Many osteopaths also undertake further specialist and advanced training once qualified.
To maintain their registration to practise, osteopaths must meet mandatory continuing professional development requirements: keeping skills and knowledge up-to-date and maintaining high standards of professional practice, which is monitored annually by the GOsC.