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Do you have a view on osteopathic education?

10 September 2021

By Steven Bettles (view more by this author)
Steven is GOsC's Policy Manager

Steven Bettles, GOsC Policy Manager, highlights the key issues in the GOPRE consultation; which includes clinical experience; research skills; leadership and management skills; a greater focus on equality, diversity and inclusion; and more.

GOsC is currently running a consultation on updated guidance for osteopathic education (known as GOPRE). We are keen to hear your views on any aspect of the consultation, so don’t feel you need to analyse and comment on the whole document. This is a great opportunity to help shape the profession of the future, whether you’re an osteopath, educator, student, patient or a member of the public.

Being confident that graduates have the required skills

One of the main functions of the General Osteopathic Council is the quality assurance of osteopathic education in the UK. This is crucial to ensure that graduates of what we refer to as ‘Recognised Qualifications’ in the UK are able to practise in accordance with the Osteopathic Practice Standards.

This means that we can be confident that UK graduates have the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to practise competently and ethically in the treatment and management of patients.

GOPRE sets out a range of outcomes that students are required to meet by the end of their course, to show that they can meet the Osteopathic Practice Standards. Graduates of UK osteopathic education programmes recognised by us, are eligible to apply to join the GOsC Register as soon as they graduate. Once they are on the Register, they can practise as an osteopath.

The GOPRE document also sets out the requirements on the clinical experience graduates are expected to achieve. This is to ensure that students have sufficient experience with a wide range of patients in their undergraduate training, and develop sufficient experience to practise safely when they graduate.

Updating the guidance

The current GOPRE is now six years old, and over the past year we have been working with a wide range of groups, including educators, the professional membership body the Institute of Osteopathy, the Osteopathic Alliance, and new graduates and patients, to update the document. We have brought the outcomes up to date, ensuring that they reflect the 2019 version of the Osteopathic Practice Standards, which has been developed and published since the previous GOPRE.

We have revised the language used, and developed the outcomes further to include more about effective communication with patients. There are now also sections on research skills and on leadership and management. Importantly, we have tried to reflect equality and diversity issues much more within the outcomes.

Standards for education and training

We have also, with these stakeholders, developed specific standards for osteopathic education and training. These standards set out detailed requirements that osteopathic education providers must deliver within their programmes.

We haven’t had specific standards for osteopathic education and training before. We relied instead on more generic standards that apply to all Higher Education providers in the UK. Having specific standards relating to osteopathic education should help to provide a clearer and more consistent understanding of what is expected from providers of osteopathic education in the UK. They will also provide a framework against which the GOsC’s Policy and Education Committee can monitor the delivery of education.

So GOPRE sets out the outcomes which graduates are expected to achieve, and the Standards for Education and Training set out the requirements of education providers delivering osteopathic courses.

We are keen to seek feedback on the updated guidance to help inform the development of a final version which will be published and implemented in 2022. The consultation closes in less than 2 weeks’ time, on 22 September, so do please take a look and don’t miss your chance to have your say. You can comment on as many or as few of the sections as you wish.

Visit our consultation page and have a read of the Overview to find out more and to share your views.