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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

On this page we are collating all our updates and key advice from government plus other useful information in relation to COVID-19. Please check back regularly as the content is changing frequently.

Communications to the profession

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

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

Advice for patients wishing to see an osteopath 

As the lockdown restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19 continue to be eased, many osteopaths who had closed their clinics are now returning to practice. Osteopaths are advised to use their professional judgement, in discussion with patients, to determine whether face-to-face treatment is appropriate in the individual circumstances, taking into account the likely benefits and risks and to ensure they explain these clearly to patients to ensure they gain informed consent. Read our statement on osteopathic practice

For existing patients, the stringent infection control measures that osteopaths are advised to implement may lead to an experience that is different to what they had been used to before the pandemic – for example, the osteopath may be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), spacing out their appointments to allow time to clean the room between patients, and they may be minimising waiting times within the clinic. These measures will be aimed at keeping patients and practitioners safe as the pandemic continues, and should not affect the high levels of care that patients are entitled to expect from osteopaths.

Many osteopaths will also continue to offer remote consultations to patients, for whom a face-to-face session may not be possible, or recommended, in the professional judgement of the osteopath. Patients should talk through any concerns they may have about attending for treatment in the light of COVID-19 with their osteopath.

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. There is also information on the NHS website about What to do if you need medical help during the pandemic.

Guidance for osteopathic practices

We have agreed an updated statement about osteopathic practice.

We have issued interim guidance on infection control in osteopathy, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have published a statement on remote consultations.

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

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 Public Health England and Health Protection 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 Public Health England
COVID-19: guidance for health professionals (PHE and DHSC)
COVID-19: guidance for health professionals and other organisations (PHE)
Latest information and advice for the public

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

The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health Wales
Advice including who to contact if you are concerned about coronavirus

Department of Health (Northern Ireland)
COVID-19 (coronavirus) - situation in Northern Ireland

Allied Health Professionals

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.

If you need to get in touch

During this time, our staff are working remotely and have limited phone access. If you have any queries, please email: covid19@osteopathy.org.uk.

Useful links