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  5. The General Osteopathic Council removes Nicholas Handoll from its Register of Osteopaths

The General Osteopathic Council removes Nicholas Handoll from its Register of Osteopaths

11 September 2018

On 10 September 2018, the GOsC’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) found Mr Nicholas Handoll, of Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

The PCC concluded that Mr Handoll’s ongoing disregard for the purpose of professional regulation is fundamentally incompatible with continued registration and directed that his name should be removed from the Register of Osteopaths.

The PCC determined that Mr Handoll had displayed an attitude of deliberate and defiant non-compliance with his professional obligations which was deep-seated and entrenched.

In addition, the PCC considered that Mr Handoll had breached one of the fundamental tenets of the profession in that he put his own interests above those of the public.

Mr Handoll will no longer be able to refer to himself as an osteopath and would be committing a criminal offence under section 32 of the Osteopaths Act should he do so.


The concern relating to Mr Handoll arose following a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about the content of his practice website.

On 26 July 2017, the ASA Council made a ruling that Mr Handoll’s website was in breach of the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the ‘CAP Code’).

Following this ruling, the CAP Compliance Team contacted Mr Handoll to seek compliance with the ruling. Mr Handoll did not seek to appeal the ruling and on 14 August 2017, in the absence of a response, he was subsequently listed by the ASA as a ‘non-compliant advertiser’.

As a result of Mr Handoll’s deliberate decision not to comply with the ASA’s ruling, the matter was referred by the GOsC’s Investigating Committee for consideration by the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC). After the initial PCC hearing in November 2017, Mr Handoll failed to engage with the process, deciding not to attend or be represented at the hearings.

Since April 2015, the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) has received over 400 concerns about advertising by osteopaths.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the UK’s advertising regulator. Therefore all advertisers, including osteopaths, must comply with the ASA’s rules. The GOsC does not have any legal jurisdiction over advertising and this is reflected in the Osteopathic Practice Standards which make it clear that osteopaths’ advertising must conform with the ASA’s requirements (the CAP Code).

Working with individual osteopaths, the Institute of Osteopathy and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the vast majority of the over 400 concerns received by the GOsC were resolved without the need for any further action.

In just this one case – that of Mr Nicholas Handoll – the concern was escalated for consideration by the GOsC’s Professional Conduct Committee.

The GOsC’s Chief Executive and Registrar, Tim Walker, said:

“All osteopaths must ensure that their advertising meets the requirements of the law. Nick Handoll deliberately chose to disregard those requirements and has borne the consequences. It is a sad end to his career as an osteopath.”

Mr Handoll is now unable to practise as an osteopath. He has 28 days to appeal his removal from the Register.

You can read the full hearing decision at osteopathy.org.uk/decisions/nicholas-handoll-10-September-2018.



For further information, contact:
GOsC Press Office
020 7357 6655 x245



1. The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) is the regulator of osteopaths in the UK.

2. The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) has a statutory duty to regulate the practice of osteopathy in the UK. Osteopaths must be registered with the GOsC in order to practise in the UK.

3. We work with the public and the profession to promote patient safety by:

  • registering qualified professional;
  • setting, maintaining and developing standards of osteopathic practice and conduct;
  • assuring the quality of osteopathic education;
  • ensuring continuing professional development;
  • helping patients with concerns or complaints about an osteopath.

4. The Statutory Register of Osteopaths provides a geographical index of all practising osteopaths and is available to the general public and to healthcare providers online at: osteopathy.org.uk/register-search