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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 

Some osteopaths have temporarily closed their clinics due to COVID-19. A number are continuing to offer urgent and/or remote consultations, so we are suggesting to patients that they may be able to find someone in their area by using our Register search. If they are unable to find an osteopath, 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.

UK legislation currently permits osteopaths to see patients. However, in many cases, only essential, urgent or emergency services should be delivered, and many routine NHS services are now suspended for public protection. We are advising osteopaths to use professional judgement in determining whether it is appropriate to see patients and to carefully consider the guidance about staying home and saving lives. We are also advising osteopaths to consider seeing patients by video call or talking over the phone instead. See our statement on osteopathic practice.

The Institute for Osteopathy (iO), the professional association for osteopathy, provides the following advice for osteopaths: 'If you choose to stay open, you should only be conducting remote consultations during the lockdown period unless for urgent and emergency cases – see the iO’s COVID-19 FAQs and guidance on these exceptional circumstances’.

If osteopaths exercise their professional judgement and continue to see patients, we have advised they should take account of our stringent interim infection control guidance.

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 26 March 2020 we published a 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