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Protecting the osteopathic title policy

The following information is available in Welsh: Diogelu’r teitl osteopathig

Our Protecting the osteopathic title enforcement policy statement explains how we decide to take action against individuals who are not on our Register but who call themselves osteopaths.

The legislation

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 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 was updated in May 2022 to account for recent changes in legislation and to better illustrate how we apply the policy in practice. The policy includes examples of where we have used this policy to successfully prosecute individuals not on our Register, including:

  • a non-registered person calling themselves an ‘equine osteopath’
  • a non-registered person implying they are an osteopath on their website
  • a person continuing to call themselves an osteopath after they have been removed from the Register.

The policy also requires us 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