The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has teamed up with the General Osteopathic Council to send new guidance to over 4,800 osteopaths on the GOsC register.
The guidance relates to marketing claims for pregnant women, children and babies and provides examples of what kind of claims can, and can’t, be made for these patient groups.
Osteopaths are trained in therapeutic approaches that are suitable for a broad range of individuals. As healthcare practitioners regulated by statute, osteopaths may offer advice on, diagnosis of and treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought provided they hold convincing evidence of efficacy.
The effectiveness of osteopathy for treating some conditions (e.g. rheumatic pain or joint pain) is underpinned by a robust body of evidence. However, claims for treating conditions specific to pregnant women, children and babies (e.g. morning sickness, or colic) are not supported by the evidence available to date.
The new ASA guidance is intended to help osteopaths talk about the healthcare they provide in a way that complies with the Advertising Codes to ensure consumers are not misled. It provides some basic principles and many examples of claims that are, and aren’t, acceptable. We believe it will provide greater clarity to osteopaths on how to advertise osteopathic care for pregnant women, children and babies responsibly.
We’ve welcomed the opportunity to join with the GOsC to help registrants keep informed about the advertising rules. Our aim is to ensure that osteopaths advertising their practice, and consumers seeking osteopathic care after viewing an osteopath’s website, can do so reassured that the information provided there is responsible.
We recognise that osteopaths provide a valuable service to a wide range of patients. The ASA has no desire to stand in the way of the marketing of osteopathy services, providing that advertising is responsible and, in particular, that claims about the efficacy of treatment options can be backed up in all cases.