Standards prioritise patient and service-user safety
The GOsC produced revised draft guidance for students and educational institutions on professional behaviours and fitness to practise. Incorporating outcomes from the Francis Report and the duty of candour, the guidance helps students to take responsibility for their behaviour and consider the impact it has on patient safety and the trust that the public places in the osteopathic profession. The guidance provides specific examples about the types of activities which might call into question a practitioner’s fitness to practise.
Additional guidance helps registrants apply the regulator's standards
The GOsC has continued to advise registrants about the need for accurate advertising. It has a website section dedicated to providing information on complying with advertising rules and also reminds registrants in its newsletters. In November 2016, the GOsC helped publicise Advertising Standards Authority guidance for osteopaths about marketing claims for pregnant women, children and babies, advising osteopaths about what types of claims are are appropriate.
Standards required to stay fit to practise through continued professional development are maintained
The GOsC has been developing a new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme, requiring osteopaths to undertake 30 hours of CPD per year, including 15 hours of learning with others. A complete scheme cycle will take three years, making a total of 90 hours of CPD. The results of a public consultation were positive and the scheme will be introduced during 2017/18. A CPD Partnership Group has been created by the GOsC. It includes patients, osteopaths and osteopathic groups, to oversee the scheme’s implementation.
The fitness to practise process is transparent, fair, proportionate and focused on public protection
Aimed at improving both the quality and consistency of the GOsC’s committees (Professional Conduct and Health), the GOsC approved Guidance on Drafting Determinations in February 2016 following a public consultation. Intended to be a ‘living document’, it will be amended to take account of developments in the case law, as well as feedback/learning points provided by the Authority to the GOsC.
Fitness to practise decisions are well reasoned, consistent, protect the public and maintain confidence
In July 2016, the GOsC approved the Initial Closure Procedure. It provides guidance on decisions made at the initial stages of the fitness to practise process and aims to make the investigative process more transparent. The impact of this change has yet to be evaluated by the GOsC but we welcome this development.
All parties involved in the fitness to practise process are supported and can participate effectively
Last year the GOsC looked at how to support witnesses through the fitness to practise process by providing guidance. During this performance review period, the GOsC turned its attention to registrants and how to support them. It noted that there was no guidance about the GOsC fitness to practise procedures specifically designed for osteopaths. This has resulted in two separate draft booklets: the first will explain the GOsC’s fitness to practise procedures generally and set out what an osteopath needs to do if a complaint is made about them; and the second booklet will contain detailed guidance about preparing for and attending a hearing. Feedback will be taken on-board before a public consultation is undertaken in 2017.