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From time to time the GOsC carries out surveys amongst osteopaths, patients and the public with the aim of gathering information to assist us in the development of our policies and regulatory activities.

Public and patient perceptions

National public perceptions study 2014-2015

We commissioned YouGov in late 2014  to conduct a national survey of public perceptions of the osteopathic profession. YouGov surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,566 members of the UK public, including 523 people who had visited an osteopath in the last 12 months. The results showed that patients have a high level of confidence in, and satisfaction with, osteopathic care. The survey also revealed the three most important attributes (rated as important by more than 90% of respondents) that give the public confidence in a health care professional:

  • having a recognised level of education and training;
  • providing good-quality advice and treatment;
  • being monitored by a regulatory body.

You can read the full reports on the Public and patient perceptions research page along with a commentary by the GOsC on the findings of the research.

Public awareness surveys 2001 and 2006

We commissioned public awareness surveys in 2001 and 2006.

The 2006 survey showed that awareness of osteopathy stood at 83% amongst the UK adult population. Our aim was not only to gauge public awareness at the time but also to sample the British public's opinion of osteopaths and their experiences of osteopathic treatment. For this reason, a representative sample of 1,000 members of the public were drawn at random from the UK electoral roll.

Osteopaths’ opinion survey

In spring 2012 we carried out a survey of osteopaths' views. Our aim was to get feedback from osteopaths about how we communicate with them, how they communicate with us and what we can do to improve the services we provide. Hard copies were sent to all registrants and there was the option to send us views online.

Responses were received from 1,342 osteopaths, equivalent to 30% of the profession. This is a very high response rate for a survey of this kind.

Survey results

The findings of the survey are below along with a GOsC commentary on the results.

Osteopathic practice in the UK

Research carried out by KPMG into osteopaths' practice, How do osteopaths practise? was published in 2011. The work was done as part of the preparation for our continuing fitness to practise (now our draft new continuing professional development) scheme.

The GOsC commissioned a series of surveys in order to give a 'snapshot' of current osteopathic practice in the UK at a particular point in time, including the snapshot survey 2001.

A pilot study on osteopathic practice was conducted by the GOsC during 2006-2007. The findings produced some interesting statistics about the profession (see our Statistics page). The pilot study was used to develop a national survey of osteopathic practice that was carried out between 2008-2010. The resulting report was published in 2010 as the Standardised Data Collection Project.