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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.

Every healthcare professional, including osteopaths, must put patients’ interests first and act to protect them. This means that if you have concerns about the care or safety of a patient, or the actions of a colleague, you must do something.

What should you do?

There are a number of steps you can take:

  • If you are concerned about the behavior of a colleague you could talk to them and explain your concerns.
  • If you don’t feel you can do that, you should discuss your concerns with other colleagues, the principal practitioner (if there is one) or your colleague’s employer.
  • If you are concerned about a practitioner who belongs to a regulated profession, you can report your concerns to the regulator (including the GOsC if the practitioner is an osteopath).
  • If the practitioner is a member of a voluntary registering body, approach that association.
  • If you have urgent and serious concerns for the safety of a patient, you should contact the police or social services about the situation.

If you are the principal of a practice you should ensure that there are systems in place to enable your staff to raise concerns about patient safety, and you should also ensure that your staff know how and when to use those systems.

Reporting concerns to the GOsC

The Complaints section on our public website explains how to raise a concern or make a complaint to us, if you think that a patient is at risk of harm because of an osteopath’s behaviour.

You can contact us on 020 7357 6655 x224 or email regulation @osteopathy.org.uk

Reporting concerns to other regulators

If the practitioner is a member of another statutorily regulated profession you should contact the appropriate regulator. You will find contact details for the other health and social care regulators on our public website.

Not sure about raising your concerns?

Raising concerns about a colleague can be challenging, but osteopaths have a professional duty to do so when they believe a patient’s safety is threatened.

1. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would I be concerned if this health professional were treating my family or friends?
  • Is the person’s worrying behaviour repeated?
  • Does the person’s behaviour pose a risk to children or vulnerable adults?
  • What might happen in the short-term or long-term if I do not raise my concern?
  • If I was asked to so do, could I justify why I did not raise this concern?

2. If you raise your concern with us we may be able to provide protection under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. For further information see our Handling Whistleblowing Concerns Policy.

3. Seek advice and support from the organisations below.

Sources of advice

What do the Osteopathic Practice Standards say?

Standard C9 of the Osteopathic Practice Standards says “Act quickly to help patients and keep them from harm”. The associated guidance begins "You should take steps to protect patients if you believe that a colleague’s or practitioner’s health, conduct or professional performance poses a risk to them." It then sets out the steps you should take to protect patients - see 'What should you do?' on the left. 

GOsC Handling Whistleblowing Concerns Policy

Any employee with an osteopathy-related concern about a danger, risk, malpractice or wrongdoing in their organisation can come to us if they feel unable to raise it with their employer. Our Handling Whistleblowing Concerns Policy explains what kind of concerns the GOsC can consider and under what circumstances we can provide protection for the whistleblower.