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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

On 27 May 2022, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) guidance on infection prevention and control for respiratory infections in health and care settings for winter 2021-22, was withdrawn. This means that the requirement for masks in healthcare settings, unless there is known COVID-19 or exposure to bodily fluids, has been removed in England and Wales. For those practising in Scotland, mask use continues to be required, and is strongly recommended in most settings in Northern Ireland.

Even with the withdrawal of the UKHSA guidance, osteopaths may choose to continue to utilise masks or other PPE in response to their own risk assessments as a general policy, or on a case-by-case basis. This will be a matter for their own professional judgement.

Links to infection control guidance in the four nations:

On this page we are collating all our updates and key advice from government plus other useful information in relation to COVID-19. 

Advice for patients wishing to see an osteopath 

In the context of COVID-19, there is no prohibition on osteopathic practice, and osteopaths have been working through the pandemic with enhanced infection control measures.

If you are concerned about seeing an osteopath, or have questions about steps being taken to keep patients safe in the light of COVID-19, then it is suggested that you contact your osteopath in advance to discuss your concerns or queries.

Patients can use the GOsC Register Search facility to find an osteopath in their area.

If a patient is unable to find an osteopath in their area who is able to treat them, we are suggesting they can seek advice for an urgent medical problem from NHS 111.

Guidance for osteopathic practices

Osteopaths should continue to use their professional judgement to assess and mitigate risks on a case-by-case basis. This will include being mindful of changes to public health guidance in response to COVID-19 and other health concerns.

On 27 May 2022, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) guidance on infection prevention and control for respiratory infections in health and care settings for winter 2021-22, was withdrawn. This means that the requirement for masks in healthcare settings, unless there is known COVID-19 or exposure to bodily fluids, has been removed in England and Wales. For those practising in Scotland, mask use continues to be required, and is strongly recommended in most settings in Northern Ireland.

Even with the withdrawal of the UKHSA guidance, osteopaths may choose to continue to utilise masks or other PPE in response to their risk assessments as a general policy, or on a case-by-case basis. This will be a matter for their own professional judgement.

Links to guidance in the four nations:

Osteopaths are required to work within the framework of the Osteopathic Practice Standards (OPS) and should ensure that discussions with patients about vaccines are based upon credible and legitimate sources of public health information such as the NHS website or the MHRA website. Read more on vaccines.

The professional membership body, the Institute of Osteopathy, has a COVID-19 hub which is also a useful source of information and guidance.

On 12 April 2022 we updated our interim infection control guidance to reflect the Infection prevention and control for seasonal respiratory infections in health and care settings (including SARS-CoV-2) for winter 2021 to 2022 updated by the UK Health Security Agency on 14 April 2022. The UKHSA guidance was withdrawn on 27 May 2022. The GOsC guidance is currently under review.

On 2 April 2020, we published a statement on remote consultations.

We have published a statement which warns osteopaths not to make false coronavirus claims in their advertising.

We have published a statement about vaccinations.

Regulation updates

On 5 August 2020, we published an interim remote hearings protocol and a practice note on questioning witnesses.

On 12 June 2020, we published an updated statement on fitness to practise activities highlighting that patient safety remains the key priority.   

On 3 March 2020, we published a joint statement with the other health and care professional regulators across the UK on how we will continue to regulate in light of novel coronavirus

Government advice

The Department of Health and Social Care, and other agencies including UK Health Security Agency and Public Health Scotland are regularly updating their guidance for health and care professionals and information for the public.

The information and guidance are being updated regularly as the situation develops, and osteopaths need to remain alert for any updates.

The Department of Health and Social Care and UK Health Security Agency
COVID-19: guidance for health professionals (UKHSA and DHSC)
COVID-19: guidance for health professionals and other organisations (UKHSA)
Latest government data

Health Protection Scotland/Public Health Scotland
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for health protection team (PHS)
Latest information and advice for the public (PHS)

Welsh Government
Keeping Wales safe - advice and guidance

Department of Health (Northern Ireland)
COVID-19 (coronavirus) - information for Northern Ireland

Allied Health Professionals

On 07 December 2020, the Chief Allied Health Professions Officers jointly issued a statement further supporting allied health professionals as they tackle COVID-19.

On 19 March 2020 the Chief Allied Health Professions Officers jointly published a statement on supporting allied health professionals and allied health professional support workers during the COVID-19 epidemic in the UK.

Osteopathic educational providers

On 20 March 2020, we published a COVID-19 statement to Osteopathic educational providers to outline our position.

Communications to the profession

We have received a large number of queries which we have responded to individually. You can see the answers to the main questions here:

During the COVID-19 period, in addition to the news items we are publishing and the updates we are making to this page and on social media, we have been in touch with osteopaths directly in response to email or phone enquiries. Additionally, we have been in contact with osteopaths through the following:

We also received a petition about registration fees from a number of osteopaths and this was our response.

If you need to get in touch

If you have any queries, please email: covid19@osteopathy.org.uk

We are committed to ensuring a safe and inclusive workspace for all our visitors and our staff. Our office meetings policy sets out how we do this in relation to meetings that take place at Osteopathy House.

Useful links