Associates – standards of practice are your responsibility

If you work in a practice as an associate you may feel you are protected by being under the umbrella of the practice name and the principal.  Most osteopaths work as self-employed, sole-traders and all are registered with the GOsC as an individual practitioner – therefore you should have in mind that you stand alone.  As discussed in a previous blog, being self-employed has the disadvantage of foregoing the rights and protection associated with employment.

So what?

The reason I am highlighting this point is that you need to make sure that you are working in a manner that is compliant with the Osteopathic Practice Standards. It is no defence to point at the principal or the clinic name.  You are responsible for your own actions and you will need to make sure good procedures are in place.

What should you have as a minimum?

Good procedures for obtaining and recording informed consent

Explaining benefits and risks of treatment and treatment alternatives

A complaints procedure

Keeping good patient records

Destroying patient records in good time

Operating without discrimination or harassment

Good hygiene procedures

Awareness of procedures for raising safeguarding issues

Fire safety procedures

First Aid equipment

Abiding by advertising rules

Honest accounting procedures

Practice audits

You may read this list and one or several things may stand out as weak or deficient in your practice.  Maybe there are other aspects of the practice that need improving.  You need to take action.

What can you do?

First of all you can approach your principal and explain to them your concerns.  If they are not responsive then you need to take action to make sure that your practice is compliant.  If necessary, put in place your own procedures to make sure you are compliant.  You are the one who will need to defend your own practice should an issue arise so it is up to you to demonstrate that you have made every effort to comply with Osteopathic Practice Standards.

The Mint folder will help you write your own policies and procedures.  These will stand you in good stead wherever you practice so you can practice with confidence in your standards of practice.  If you plan to eventually run your own clinic you will be well prepared with the knowledge and procedures you require.

Point your practice Principal to the Mint folder as an easy way for them to get their practice compliant.

Make sure you can demonstrate that as an individual practitioner you are working to an outstanding standard.

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