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Osteopathy development projects gather momentum

24 November 2014

Update on key osteopathy development projects managed by the Osteopathic Development Group.

Formed in 2012 to support the development of the profession, the Osteopathic Development Group (ODG) is a partnership between:

  • the GOsC
  • the Institute of Osteopathy (iO)
  • the Council of Osteopathic Educational Institutions (COEI)
  • the National Council for Osteopathic Research (NCOR)
  • the Osteopathic Alliance (OA).

You can find out more about the ODG and its project plans on our Developing the profession webpage.


The Mentoring project aims to develop a suitable support framework for osteopaths early in their careers, to help them develop a successful and sustainable practice.

The project team has just appointed an independent research and development company, Health Academix, to conduct the project’s initial background research phase. This includes a review of the published literature and the international ‘grey literature’ (unpublished literature that would be harder to find in an internet search), plus semi-structured interviews with individuals who have a specialist interest or experience in healthcare mentoring.

The resulting report should provide recommendations for a framework to be piloted in the next phase.

The project team is looking to set up a reference group of osteopaths to take part in a questionnaire-based consultation at the end of the initial phase. If you’d like to be involved, please email the project manager, Matthew Rogers.

Advanced Clinical Practice

This two-year project is exploring whether additional infrastructure is needed to help members of the public identify osteopaths possessing specific skills and qualifications.

Health Academix is conducting the research, and is currently:

  • reviewing the literature around advanced practice in osteopathy and other professions
  • exploring how osteopaths communicate their areas of special interest or expertise
  • holding stakeholder interviews
  • recruiting a wider reference group to feed back on the project’s progress via quarterly emails.

Two surveys will be sent out early next year – one for osteopaths and one for patients and the public. A draft framework will then be developed for consultation with the profession.

If you know of any grey literature that may be relevant to the project, or if you’d like to join the reference group, please email the project manager, Ben Katz, or Jane Wilkinson at Health Academix. Please also watch out for the survey next year.


The ODG has entered into partnership with the Open University to develop a leadership programme for the osteopathic profession.

With the support of a development grant from the GOsC, they will deliver a course combining workshops, e-learning and a practical project to help individual osteopaths develop their leadership skills.

It is hoped that the programme will be in place by spring 2015. It should appeal to osteopaths facing new challenges working in education, leading regional groups and other societies, or developing larger practices.

If you are interested in taking part, contact Tim Walker or Matthew Rogers.

Service Standards

The ODG has been developing proposed voluntary service standards for the osteopathic profession, which (if adopted) will be owned by the profession.

The proposed standards complement the Osteopathic Practice Standards, which describe how osteopaths should work as healthcare professionals. In contrast, the service standards reflect the needs and expectations of the patient rather than the osteopath; they describe how osteopaths should demonstrate the quality of the care they provide.

A consultation on the proposed service standards closed last month. You can download the consultation document, and we’ll report on the results in a future edition of the osteopath.

If you have any questions about the standards, please email Matthew Rogers.