What advertising rules do I need to follow?
Osteopaths must agree to ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful’ advertising as part of the General Osteopathic Council (GOcS) Practice Standards. You must ensure your advertising complies with the Code of Advertising Practice, set down by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP). The rules are enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). CAP gives specific advice for osteopathy, including the list of medical conditions that you can claim to treat.
What counts as ‘advertising’?
Any non-broadcast information on your website, leaflets and any other marketing material available to the public needs to comply with the code. Thomas Editing is happy to help with any content, in print or online.
What is the new ASA guidance I’ve heard about?
Osteopathy: ASA Review and Guidance for Marketing Claims for Pregnant Women, Children and Babies was released in November 2016, to ‘provide some general key principles and guidance on marketing osteopathy’. The report includes examples of claims that are likely to be acceptable, and those that are likely to mislead.
Is this new guidance useful?
The Institute of Osteopathy (iO) welcomes the guidance, saying it helps osteopaths promote the valuable contribution they make, particularly in the care of pregnant women and children, without the fear of inadvertently misleading the public. The guidance clarifies how you can promote your services in a balanced and objective manner. Thomas Editing can help you use the guidance to promote your services responsibly.
Why should I check my marketing now?
There has been a sharp rise in the number of complaints made to the GOsC about how osteopaths are advertising their services. The GOsC and iO are both encouraging osteopaths to review their marketing in light of the new guidance. Thomas Editing’s Quick Fix service can address specific issues quickly.
What are the benefits of a clear website?
According to the GOsC practice standards, information you provide about your professional qualifications, practice and services should be of a high standard and factually accurate. Thomas Editing can help prospective patients understand you and what you offer.
Are testimonials included in the advertising rules?
Claims made in testimonials are subject to the same standards of evidence as any other claim. So, even if your patients say you have successfully treated certain conditions, if it isn’t on the CAP approved list and you have no evidence to substantiate it, you can’t put it on your website. It is important to keep contact details and written confirmation that you’ve got permission to use testimonials. Thomas Editing can help you present testimonials in the right way.
Image copyright The General Osteopathic Council