Not all Professional Standards are the same

ARCHIVED POST N.B. This post is based on the 2012 Osteopathic Practice Standards and therefore may not reflect current legislation or current Mint procedures.

For the last couple of weeks I have been reading and comparing the professional standards from several professional bodies.  I am working on adapting the Mint Folder for use by other professions as much of the material is applicable to all health practitioners running and working in private practices.

I was surprised by the difference between the main three professional standards I have been studying:

General Osteopathic Council – Osteopathic Practice Standards

General Chiropractic Council – Chiropractic Code of Practice and Standards of Proficiency

Health and Care Professions Council – Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics

The HCPC regulates 16 health care professions and produces standards of proficiency for each profession.  For the contents of the Mint Folder it is the Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics which are relevant and these are generic for the 16 professions.

The GOsC and GCC have the most detailed practice standards.  The GCC helpful identifies relevant government documents and legislation that underpin each of the standards.  The HCPC standards are, perhaps necessarily, less specific but they do lack detail in the application of the standards.  There is currently a consultation on a new revision of the HCPC standards which is due to be implemented at the beginning of 2016.  In the new version (depending on the outcome of the consultation) they will be specifying that procedures must be in place for handling complaints which was one of the glaring absences of the previous standards.  As a practising osteopath I am glad that our practice standards do have more specific guidance on how to apply the standards but perhaps they are too prescriptive and onerous in some respects.  How much detail is really necessary is probably a matter of opinion – at one extreme is the chiropractic standards which are very detailed and specific and at the other extreme is the HPCP.  It would be interesting to hear practitioners views on their own professional standards and the ease of applying them.

I am in the process of conducting a more detailed comparison of the three sets of standards and I will write more on this in due course.

Another observation I have made in the last few weeks is how favoured the Osteopathic profession is.  We have some very detailed research evidence on the benefits and risks of treatment and analysis of complaints against practitioners.  I have not been able to find anything of a comparable standard for other professions.  For this thanks has to go to the General Osteopathic Council and National Council for Osteopathic Research.  I don’t think we appreciate enough the work that they have done in regulation and research – other professions don’t have anything comparable to NCOR.



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