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Guidance for osteopaths

This section features a range of guidance to help osteopaths meet the Osteopathic Practice Standards, improve their practice and comply with relevant legislation.

An osteopath reading guidance

Adjunctive therapies

Guidance for osteopaths to use when considering how the Osteopathic Practice Standards (OPS) apply to all aspects of their work, including non-osteopathic forms of care and treatment. The guidance offers fictional case studies to illustrate how the OPS apply to different scenarios. Read more


The information you provide to patients on your website, in practice literature, and via social media, service directories and marketing material must comply with the Osteopathic Practice Standards. Read more

Blood-borne infections

The Osteopathic Practice Standards require osteopaths to consider how best to safeguard their own health and the health of others. Read more

Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers

Updated guidance on the Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act 2021 came into force on 1 October 2021 (in England only, not UK wide) and makes it a criminal offence to administer botulinum toxin (also known as ‘Botox’©) and cosmetic fillers to anyone under the age of 18 years old.
Read more from the Department of Health and Social Care

Clinical Imaging Guidelines

'Clinical Imaging Requests from Non-medically Qualified Professionals' is guidance for radiographers aimed at ensuring that the message to all health professionals involved in clinical imaging referrals is clear and consistent. Read more

Conflicts of interest

Conflicts of interest can arise in any healthcare setting. Read more


Standard A4 of the Osteopathic Practice Standards requires an osteopath to have their patient’s valid consent before they examine or treat the patient. Read more

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Osteopaths should continue to use their professional judgement to assess and mitigate risks on a case-by-case basis. Read more

Data Protection

When patients give you their personal information, they expect you to keep it securely and use it appropriately. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the body that ensures compliance with the Data Protection Act in the UK. Read more

Disclosure and barring service

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, those (including osteopaths) who work with children and vulnerable adults, are covered by the Disclosure and Barring Service; in Scotland, it is the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme. Read more

Duty of candour

In January 2014, the Government proposed that there should be a professional duty of candour for health professionals. This was in response to the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, carried out by Robert Francis QC, which published its final report in February 2013. Read more

Equality, diversity, inclusion and belonging

These are key elements underpinning the provision of fair, inclusive, welcoming, holistic and equitable healthcare. Individuals have a diversity of identities, backgrounds, experiences, needs, and communication styles. The Osteopathic Practice Standards (OPS) can help osteopaths provide care for different people in different contexts. Read more

Putting patients at ease

Alleged breaches of professional and sexual boundaries by osteopaths are a common theme in complaints made to the GOsC by patients. Some of these complaints arise from a misunderstanding of osteopathic treatment and what it involves. Others could be avoided through better communication and taking steps to alleviate patients’ possible anxieties or concerns. Read more

Raising concerns

Raising a concern, which includes whistleblowing, is when you speak up or provide information about something you believe could be putting others at risk. Read more

Reporting female genital mutilation

Osteopaths in England and Wales have a mandatory duty to report cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) to the police if, in the course of their work, a girl under 18 years old informs them directly that an act of FGM has been carried out on her, or they observe physical signs on a girl under 18 years old which appear to show an act of FGM has been carried out, and they have no reason to believe that this was necessary for her physical or mental health or for purposes connected with labour or birth. Read more

Social media

Many osteopaths use social media for personal and professional purposes and it is important to be aware of the potential pitfalls as well as the advantages. Read more