Osteopathy Training & Qualification
FURTHER MEDICAL INVESTIGATION AND REFERRAL
Osteopaths are well trained and qualified to recognise the need for further medical investigation such as X-Ray, MRI scans and blood tests. They will refer as appropriate to other primary health professionals and medical specialists including GPs for specialist advice and will work with them for the benefit of the patient.
Although osteopaths will often treat patients that have been referred to them by a GP, there is no requirement for a patient to seek a GP referral for osteopathic intervention. Osteopaths are Primary Healthcare Practitioners, meaning they are fully qualified to assess and treat patients without the need for prior referral.
TRAINING AND QUALIFICATION
All osteopaths practicing in the UK are highly qualified Primary Health Professionals. They are subject to strict statutory regulation by their governing body the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). Osteopaths are acknowledged and recognised by the medical profession as specialists in their field.
Undergraduates’ trainees in Osteopathy are required to follow a rigorous four years (full time) or five years (part time) Degree course, during which time they will study the core medical subjects of human anatomy and physiology, pathology and neurology, on top of specialised areas such as osteopathic techniques and biomechanics.
They are required to gain extensive and rigorous clinical experience and undergo a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical training as part of their undergraduate studies.
Qualifications generally take the form of a Bachelor’s Degree in Osteopathy – a BSc (Hons), BOst or BOstMed – or a Master’s Degree in Osteopathy (MOst).
Once qualified, osteopaths are required to complete 30 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) per year. A significant number of osteopaths also choose to go into academia and further their academic and clinical knowledge with specialised Masters Degrees and PhDs.
The title “Osteopath” is protected by law and anyone who uses the name Osteopath must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) in accordance with the Provisions of the Osteopaths Act 1993.
The GOsC is the statutory regulator (equivalent to the GMC in the medical profession). The GOsC is responsible for promoting high standards of competency, conduct and safety within the profession.
OSTEOPATHY AND THE NHS
Although most osteopaths prefer to set up or work within private practice there are ever-increasing numbers of them working within the NHS – in hospitals (Musculoskeletal Department) and GP practices.
Osteopathy is fully recognised and acknowledged as specialised field by the medical profession and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) specifically recommends osteopathic treatment for mechanical back pain where current evidence about Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) is the strongest.