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My reflections on the experience of joining GOsC Council at the start of the pandemic

7 May 2021

By Caroline Guy
Caroline is an osteopath member of Council and a member of the Remuneration and Appointments Committee.

Caroline Guy shares her insight into the first year of serving on GOsC’s Council, while also suspending her osteopathic practice as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

When I was appointed to serve on Council as an osteopathic member, I had already spent six years on the GOsC’s Investigating Committee, so I felt I was familiar with the GOsC as an organisation. However, looking back, when I was first appointed to the Investigating Committee in 2014, I felt that I probably needed to do a law degree just to get my head around everything, and it took a few months to lose that ‘imposter syndrome’ feeling, constantly expecting someone to come into the room and ask what on earth I was doing there!

Despite all my prior experience with GOsC, joining Council gave me even greater insight into GOsC, particularly from a governance perspective.

The importance of oversight of the functioning and direction of GOsC should not be underestimated. Our overriding responsibility is to ensure that GOsC fulfils its statutory duty as a regulator, both in terms of its stakeholders and as it sits within the wider regulatory framework.

Beginning my appointment on 1 April 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, was a bit of a ‘baptism by fire’ and I had to get up to speed very quickly. I was also appointed to the Remuneration and Appointments Committee at the same time, which meant getting fully acquainted with the financial side of the organisation, so there was a lot to get to grips with in a relatively short space of time.

I took the decision to suspend practice at the beginning of the pandemic, as many of us did, and had to absorb the resulting loss of income that we all suffered and are still suffering. So, when I saw some of the comments left on social media, I could see to some extent why people were reacting in the way they were. However, at the same time, what quickly became clear was that there was a lot of misunderstanding as to the role of GOsC and how our choices were restricted in how we were able to support the profession.

I have always had concerns about the way GOsC is perceived within the profession and to me the fundamental issue was that the organisation, for many, seemed remote and faceless. In my experience, the people working at the GOsC understood very clearly the implications of what the profession was facing and were sympathetic to the financial situation we were finding ourselves in. Everyone worked, and still is working extremely hard, to navigate a way through this situation and it is not as simple as many may think.

The challenges of the pandemic have opened opportunities to rethink how we do business as a regulator and how we communicate with our stakeholders

But I can see changes are already taking shape at GOsC and being put into action. There is a positive drive to be more visible and engaging with the profession, most recently seen with the Fitness to Practise webinar with Sheleen McCormack. The challenges of the pandemic have opened opportunities to rethink how we do business as a regulator and how we communicate with our stakeholders, hence the new Communications and Engagement Strategy

I am determined that we must do everything we can not to waste any of these opportunities and to build on what we have started, so more videos, webinars, and blogs, will hopefully go some way towards this.

Working with GOsC is a quite different experience from practice, but it is also really interesting and rewarding. If you want to know more, do come along to a Council meeting and see what goes on. If you’re an osteopath, this is your regulator, so if you have an interest, why not apply for committee roles when they come up so you too can get involved?

Please email council@osteopathy.org.uk for more information about when GOsC Council will next meet and how to attend.

Read more about Caroline Guy