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Protecting the osteopathic title policy

The GOsC's Protecting the osteopathic title enforcement policy sets out how and when we will take action against unregistered individuals who call themselves osteopaths.


Section 32(1) of the Osteopaths Act 1993 (the 1993 Act) makes it a criminal offence for a person, who is not registered with the GOsC to describe themselves, either expressly or by implication, as any kind of osteopath. S32(1) applies to the United Kingdom and it lists, in particular, the following protected titles:

  • osteopath
  • osteopathic practitioner
  • osteopathic physician
  • osteopathist
  • osteotherapist.

The policy

Our policy confirms that we will focus on cases that present a risk to patient safety and public protection, and that we will adopt a proportionate response if we hear allegations that the title of osteopath is being misused.

The policy has not changed since we consulted on a draft version over the Summer 2014. Respondents to the consultation told us that the draft policy was clear, and agreed that it should require the GOsC to:

  • always seek to reclaim the costs of a criminal prosecution if the defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty
  • always seek publicity for every successful prosecution.

If you suspect that an unregistered person is claiming to be an osteopath, please tell us – we explain what to do on our Protecting the title 'osteopath' page