The title 'osteopath' is protected by law, and only those included on the Register are entitled to practise as osteopaths. Unregistered practice is a criminal offence in the UK.
Many private health insurance policies provide cover for osteopathic treatment. It may be possible to claim for a course of treatment but you should check in advance with your insurance company before seeking osteopathic treatment, in order to confirm the available level of cover and whether you will need to have a referral from your GP or a specialist.
The date an osteopath was first registered with the General Osteopathic Council can be seen in the 'Practitioner Details' on the Register.
Currently, access to osteopathy on the NHS is limited, but services are becoming more widespread as commissioning authorities recognise the benefits of providing osteopathy to patients. To find out if NHS treatment is available in your area, speak to your GP and/or contact: 1. If you are in England - your local primary care trust. 2. If you are in Scotland - your local health board. 3. If you are in Wales - your local health authority. 4. If you are in Northern Ireland - your local health and social service board/group. There is more information on who to contact in your region on the NHS website.
Yes. GPs refer patients to osteopaths where they believe this intervention would be beneficial. Referral guidelines are provided by the General Medical Council.
Most patients 'self refer' to an osteopath for treatment. Although referral by a GP is not necessary, patients are encouraged to keep both their GP and osteopath fully informed, so that their medical records are current and complete and the patient receives the best possible care from both healthcare practitioners.
All osteopathic training schools operate clinics where students train, supervised by qualified osteopaths. Patients can access quality care here at a reduced rate. See our list of training schools to find a training school clinic.
Some osteopaths do offer home visits as part of their service. You can check the UK Statutory Register of Osteopaths, which is available on this website and provides information about home visits, or ask the osteopath directly.
All osteopaths must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council. You can use the Register to check whether your health professional is currently registered.
In general, the first treatment lasts about 45 minutes, and subsequent treatments around half an hour. Your first appointment is usually slightly longer to allow for a full case history to be taken.