Osteopath legal issues

It is a legal requirement that all osteopaths must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). To successfully register, an osteopath must hold a recognised qualification. (These are offered by colleges and universities that are recognised by the GOsC and are listed on the GOsC website.)

Over a three-year CPD cycle, registered osteopaths must undertake 90 hours of CPD in total with no less than 45 hours in the category Learning with others across all themes of the Osteopathic Practice Standards, including at least one objective activity, and one CPD activity relating to communication and consent. They will also need to keep a CPD record and, with a colleague, complete a Peer Discussion Review.

Osteopaths must follow the detailed professional standards set out in the Osteopathic Practice Standards document that is available to download from the GOsC website.

What licences does an osteopath need?

It is a legal requirement that all osteopaths must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council. To successfully register, an osteopath must hold a recognised qualification. (These are offered by colleges and universities that are recognised by the General Osteopathic Council and are listed on the Council's website.) Registration for new applicants costs £320, then £430 in the next year and then £570 for each following year (correct at October 2018).

You may also be required to obtain a special treatments licence from your local authority. This will depend on the policy of individual authorities and the nature of the services that you are intending to offer.

You should also be aware of the following:

  • if background music is provided in the clinic you will usually need a Music Licence from PPL PRS Ltd. There is an annual fee for this which you can pay online on the PPL PRS website
  • if you keep computerised records of patients' or other individuals' personal details, it's likely that you'll be required to register as a data user with the Information Commissioner's Office. From May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation has introduced additional protection for personal data

Professional indemnity insurance

It is a requirement of registration with the General Osteopathic Council that all osteopaths must have at least £5 million of professional indemnity insurance cover.

Equipment

Any electrical equipment you use when you treat patients should be checked periodically by a qualified electrician and should have a maintenance certificate.

Protecting patients' information

As you will be keeping patients' records then you need to be aware of the Data Protection Act and how it applies to you. The General Osteopathic Council's Osteopathic Practice Standards includes guidance on keeping patient records. There is also data protection advice and guidance for health professionals on the Information Commissioner's Office website.

Health & Safety, fire

You must comply with workplace health and safety and fire safety legislation.

Employment legislation

Anyone employing staff must comply with employment legislation. Important areas of legislation include recruitment, employment contracts, pay, working hours, holidays, employment policies, sickness, maternity, paternity, discrimination, discipline, grievances, dismissals, redundancies and employment tribunals.

Insurance for an osteopath

Contact an insurer or insurance broker and explain exactly how your business will operate - they will then explain what insurance cover you must have by law, and other cover you should consider. This might include:

  • professional indemnity. In order to register with the General Osteopathic Council, you will need to have at least £5 million of professional indemnity insurance cover
  • all risks cover for your equipment
  • public liability
  • employer's liability insurance
  • loss of earnings
  • premises
  • motor insurance

When comparing insurance quotes, uncover the differences between policies by using an insurance comparison form

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