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COVID-19: Signing up to help the NHS

Osteopaths are being welcomed by the NHS in a range of roles during the current crisis in the four countries of the UK.

Together with the four UK Allied Health Professions (AHPs) Officers and the Chief Executive of the Health Professions Council, our Acting Chief Executive Matthew Redford stated in our joint letter of 19 March:

Many AHPs and their support staff across the NHS and public health services have made major contributions to the response to COVID-19. We are very proud of the response of the professions in all areas of practice in their response to this challenge. It has been exemplary. We are confident of the commitment, dedication, professionalism and hard work that the AHP workforce has and will continue to have over the course of this significant pandemic.

There are a number of ways you can apply to really help make a difference to assist frontline staff. The roles that are available may vary, for example from clinical to administrative, so there may be some need for flexibility according to what’s needed. There will be value in however you might be able support the NHS at this unprecedented time.

Remember, if you volunteer in your capacity as an osteopath (and/or allied health professional) and the role you undertake involves clinical contact with patients either face-to-face or over the phone, then you will need to maintain your practising status. If you volunteer in a non-clinical capacity, for example, as an NHS Volunteer Responder carrying out non-medical tasks such as delivering food and medication or driving people to and from hospital, and you are not seeing or speaking to patients in your capacity as an osteopath, then you will still be able to change your registration status to non-practising if you wish. 

We set out some options below and further information is available from the Institute of Osteopathy.

1. Complete this NHS survey:

The aim of the survey is to help identify suitable roles by capturing the areas and locations where people have previously worked, and your personal preferences if called upon for example if you are willing to work face-to-face or via the phone. This survey asks for previous NHS experience, but NHS experience is not essential and just helps with prioritisation. Osteopaths with no NHS experience can still apply. If you are based in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, your responses to the survey will be passed on to the relevant NHS body. If you are based in Scotland, you may find it easier to visit the Ready Scotland website to sign up.

2. Apply through the NHS locum Bank:

It’s best to wait a week or so before trying this route. This survey supports applications to the NHS locum Bank but it asks for an HCPC registration number as HEE is initially prioritising those with A&E and acute care experience (who will all be HCPC registered). This requirement is due to be relaxed in the next week or so, so that all osteopaths and other Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) will be able to use this route.

3. Contact your local NHS trust or board:

Before you get in touch and offer to assist, you can find out what roles they have and consider how you can help through the NHS Jobs website. Search for COVID-19 when you visit. You might find it helpful to refer to the joint letter from GOsC’s Acting Chief Executive Matthew Redford together with the four UK allied health professions officers when you offer your skills and services. The letter outlined the support that the AHP workforce can give (see above).

4. Register with NHS professionals via:

Further information:

The iO provides further information in its FAQ question: How can I offer my services to work in the NHS?

There is also further information here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/returning-clinicians/