HC Deb 26 March 2001 vol 365 cc452-3W
Mr. Gale

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what percentage of the membership of the osteopathic council is registered by the General Osteopathic Council; [152778]

(2) what percentage of members of the osteopathic profession he estimates will be able to vote in elections for the General Osteopathic Council to be held in April; [152777]

(3) when he will complete his review of the implementation of the Osteopaths Act 1993. [152776]

Yvette Cooper

[holding answer 8 March 2001]: I understand that, at 7 March 2001, 2,796 osteopaths had been registered with the General Osteopathic Council. This included 175 osteopaths who are ineligible to vote because they live and work outside the United Kingdom. Of the remaining 2,621 registrants who work in the UK, 551 are conditionally registered and are therefore ineligible to vote in any General Osteopathic Council elections. Approximately 200 further practitioners did not apply for registration until just before the deadline for doing so. As they have not yet completed the registration process they are also ineligible to vote. Thus 79 per cent. of registered UK osteopaths will be able to vote in the forthcoming election of osteopathic members.

According to the General Osteopathic Council's published register, 13 serving members of the General Osteopathic Council are themselves registered as practising osteopaths. This comprises the 11 osteopathic members of the Council and the two education members who were drawn from the osteopathic profession. There are a further nine members—one education member and eight lay members. Thus registrants make up 59 per cent. of the current council.

We are still investigating the concerns about operation of the Osteopaths Act 1993 that were raised in the Adjournment debate on 25 October last year. The issues are complex and require careful consideration. This has taken some time but I hope to be in a position to report back to the hon. Members who raised concerns—and all those to whom I have promised to copy my views—in the near future.

Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recognition his Department accords to the New Democratic Osteopathic Council; and if he will make a statement. [154054]

Yvette Cooper

While it is open for any organisation or group within the osteopathic profession to establish itself as a representative body for osteopaths, the General Osteopathic Council (GOC) is the only body with the legal authority to register osteopaths within the United Kingdom. Those who register with the GOC may legally call themselves osteopaths. Anyone not registering with the council is committing an offence if he or she says or implies that he is any kind of osteopath, whatever other representative body he may choose to join.

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