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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Pilot

We are working towards improving our understanding of the diversity and experiences of osteopaths, students, those involved in our complaints processes, those applying to work with us and osteopathic patients. 

In 2022 GOsC carried out a pilot to gather views from osteopaths about the questions and messaging we hope to use when collecting information on, and monitoring, diversity in the profession. In doing so, we hoped to also understand how our processes and procedures may impact on those with protected characteristics so we can take positive action to remove adverse impacts.  

The findings of the pilot were published in March 2023. Read the EDI pilot findings report.  

Progress on recommendations 

The report identified four recommendations for the work of GOsC across the osteopathic profession. Below we outline our work to date to progress each recommendation.    

1. Improved collection of EDI data
  • The findings of our pilot showed us that osteopaths are concerned about the ‘good health’ requirement in our legislation and how it affects their ability to practise. We have changed the messaging on our website to explain that osteopaths only need to declare health conditions that may impact on practice instead of every health condition.
  • We are currently working towards agreeing a revised data set with other regulators that will help us all collect the same diversity data, from which we can draw comparisons. We hope this will reveal where there may be particular barriers for people with specific protected characteristics so that we can take steps to remove these. 

2. High quality education which is inclusive for students, staff and patients and which values diversity and promotes equity: 

  • Our updated Graduate Outcomes and new Standards for Education and Training strengthen requirements for equality, diversity and inclusion among osteopathic education providers. There are now standards for culture and speaking up, helping students and staff to raise awareness of unacceptable and inappropriate behaviour, including acts of discrimination. Providers’ annual reports take into account these standards and are analysed independently. We are working with providers to help them provide evidence of implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies over the coming reporting cycles.
  • We are hosting an ongoing series of collaborative discussions with osteopathic education providers and other stakeholders about a range of topics including the student voice, and communication and consent in the classroom, to support the ongoing sharing of learning, cultural awareness and the facilitation of reasonable adjustments for those who may need them. 

3. More open and inclusive communications and engagement with the profession  

  • We are encouraging diversity through our recruitment activities, being clear in our communications that we are seeking a diverse range of applicants, and in our non-executive recruitment also actively welcoming and supporting those who may not have previously considered a role in healthcare regulation to find out more from us during webinars. We are also measuring diversity in our recruitment applications by asking applicants to complete an online equality, diversity and inclusion monitoring form, which we then analyse to help us understand whether our recruitment processes reach the widest possible range of candidates. This also helps us to identify whether there are any barriers or challenges with our processes that might prevent some applicants with protected characteristics from going on to complete their applications.
  • We have begun our accessibility review of the Continuing Professional Development and Osteopathic Practice Standards websites, to understand how we can make changes to support users with visual or hearing impairments to find the information they need more easily. The accessibility review is expected to result in updates that include making the navigation accessible to users who cannot use a mouse; changing colours to those that are more accessible for users with visual impairments; adding alternative text to images to explain their contents to users with visual impairments; and adding captions to all of our videos. 

4. Our provision of EDI resources to support continuing professional development  

We have co-funded the University College of Osteopathy’s (UCO’s) Under-Represented Groups’ Experiences in Osteopathic Training (URGENT) research , with the Osteopathic Foundation, the professional body the Institute of Osteopathy and the UCO. The aim of the research is to:

  • explore and describe the experiences of under-represented groups of osteopathic students during their training
  • identify solutions that minority groups feel could support their learning journey and improve their attainment
  • evaluate osteopathic students’ perceived cultural competence to work with minority groups
  • enhance the awareness of education providers and the wider profession of the challenges faced by students alongside recommendations to enhance the student experience and attainment? 
The findings will be shared during a forum held by the University College of Osteopaths in April 2023, to complement workshops on promoting and delivering an inclusive curriculum, supporting staff to provide an inclusive environment and culture and supporting students to speak up against discrimination. We are committed to learning from the findings and will use them to inform our ongoing work in education. (See recommendation 2 above.) The findings are expected to be published later this year.  

We recognise that we have more to do. We will continue to share our progress as we work towards improving our understanding of diversity in the profession.

If you have feedback or experiences that you wish to share with us to help us work towards an inclusive, diverse and equitable profession for students, osteopaths and patients, please contact us at: ce@osteopathy.org.uk