Features of the General Osteopathic
Council and the General Chiropractic Council
The General Osteopathic Council
The GOsC was established under the Osteopaths Act
1993 to regulate, develop and promote the profession. It is the
only body, by statute, able to register and regulate osteopathic
practitioners by law. It is a criminal offence for anyone to practise
as an "osteopath" unless they are registered with the
General Osteopathic Council.
The GOsC has a duty to safeguard patients by ensuring
high standards of ethical and clinical practice. Osteopathy was
the first healthcare profession to be awarded statutory self-regulation
for over 40 years, and the first of the professions previously
outside conventional medical services to achieve statutory recognition.
The Act came fully into force in May 2000. It will
All osteopaths have proven high standards of
High standards of professional conduct are enforced
by a single regulatory body.
All osteopaths have professional indemnity insurance.
There is an effective mechanism for dealing with
The Act established four Statutory Committees:
The Education Committee, committed to training
and maintaining the highest standards of osteopathic education
and practice for the benefit of the public.
The Investigating Committee, which will investigate
any allegations against a registered osteopath of conduct which
falls short of the standards required.
The Professional Conduct Committee, which
will consider allegations of professional misconduct referred
to it by the Investigating Committee.
The Health Committee, which will consider
allegations of serious impairment due to ill-health of a registered
osteopath referred to it by the Investigating Committee.
In addition to these Statutory Committees there are
a number of other committees covering executive matters such as
legal issues and finance, ethics and external affairs.
The Statutory Register opened on 9 May 1998. Closure
of the initial period for registration of existing practitioners
took place in May 2000. Subsequent registrants qualify by receipt
of a recognised qualification obtained from an accredited school.
The Council presently has over one-third lay membership.
Under the Act, the Council is constituted as follows:
24 members made up of:
- 12 (elected) osteopath members
- 8 lay members (appointed by the Privy Council)
- 1 member appointed by the Secretary of State
Neither the 3 education members nor the Secretary
of State's appointee need be osteopaths.
The General Chiropractic Council
Set up in 1998, the GCC is a United Kingdom-wide
statutory body with regulatory powers, established by the Chiropractors
It has three main duties:
To protect the public by establishing
and operating a system of statutory regulation for chiropractors.
To ensure the development of the profession
of chiropractic, using a model of continuous improvement in practice.
To promote the profession of chiropractic
so that its contribution to the health of the nation is understood
The General Chiropractic Council is accountable to
Parliament through the Privy Council.
Council membership and appointment:
10 chiropractors elected by registered
6 members appointed by the Privy Council (must
be non-chiropractors, one a medical practitioner);
3 members appointed by the Education Committee;
1 member appointed by the Secretary of State
There are four statutory committees:
the Education Committee
the Investigating Committee
the Professional Conduct Committee
the Health Committee
Council meetings are open to the public.
The GCC sets and publishes the Code of Practice for
Chiropractors. This covers all aspects of their conduct in their
dealings with patients and other health professionals. All complaints
and allegations are investigated. Where a complaint is proven,
the powers of the General Chiropractic Council range from a written
admonishment to removing the chiropractor's name from the Register.
The GCC is financed totally from registration fees.
Source: Budd, S. & Mills, S. (2000) Regulatory
Prospects for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Information
Pack. University of Exeter on behalf of the Department of