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About Osteopathy | For Healthcare Professionals
About Osteopathy | For Healthcare Professionals



institute of osteopaths logo

A highly trained and regulated

Allied Healthcare Profession

In 2017, NHS England recognised osteopathy as an Allied Health
Profession, marking the inclusion of osteopaths as part of the allied health
workforce and of the contribution that they can, and do, make to patient


Osteopaths are a highly trained, statutorily regulated health profession that
makes a real difference in the lives of the patients they care for, with the
potential to support the delivery of wider UK healthcare and community


A report by an independent panel of leading NHS healthcare
experts highlighted that osteopathy is still poorly understood by NHS
commissioners in terms of the contribution they could make within the NHS
service models.


The report, which drew from a range of good practice
cases where osteopaths were incorporated within NHS multidisciplinary
teams suggest that osteopaths are underused in the NHS despite the
positive experiences of these teams.

Research and reports

Here are some of the reports available on the contribution of osteopaths to patient care, as part of NHS and Social Care’s multidisciplinary services. Read more here.

This quick guide is designed to support the clinical leads, workforce leads, operational managers and any senior leaders who are involved in workforce development in NHS provider departments to understand the value that…

Quick Guide to osteopathy as a workforce supply solution

A report on patient experience, evidence, impact, training and regulation of osteopathic practice in the UK. It provides a concise and evidence-informed view of the profession and how osteopaths can potentially support wider…

Quality in Practice Report

The iO NHS post-registration internship evaluation

A report by an independent panel of leading healthcare professionals, chaired by Professor Adrian Newland CBE. The report cites a range of examples where osteopaths have worked within NHS settings – varying from…

The Role of Osteopaths as AHPs in the NHS

96% of osteopathic patients said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their care


98% of patients said their experience of osteopathy was good or very good


After 1 week, 89% of patients report some level of improvement in their symptoms


At six weeks, 96% of osteopathic patients report improvement or recovery



After 1 week, 89.5% of osteopathic patients report some level of improvement in their symptoms. At 6 weeks, 96.2% of osteopathic patients report improvement or recovery.


There is good evidence for manual therapy reducing pain and disability while improving function and range of movement for MSK problems including low back pain, neck pain, shoulder dysfunction, cervicogenic headaches, and pregnancy-related back and pelvic pain.


Research suggests that the integration of several treatment approaches, as practised by osteopaths, maybe the most effective management strategy.

96.4% of patients say they are ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with osteopathic care. Osteopathic patients also report a high level of confidence in their osteopath as their healthcare professional.

Osteopaths complete a 4-year science degree which includes at least 1,000 hours of clinical placements. Registration with the statutory regulator requires maintaining high standards of professional practice and meeting mandatory requirements for Continuing Professional Development.

Osteopathy is a statutorily regulated healthcare profession ensuring a high level of patient safety. Five systematic reviews of studies show that manual therapy has an extremely safe reputation and that major adverse events are very rare.

Osteopaths are highly trained Allied Health Professionals, with particular expertise in musculoskeletal care 27% of osteopaths want to work in the NHS, and many already do so.


As Allied Health Professionals, osteopaths could be used far more in primary healthcare settings to effectively manage MSK cases and to ease the load on GPs and other NHS colleagues as part of the NHS workforce supply. First Contact Practitioner Osteopaths manage 97% of cases independently.

89% of First Contact Practitioner Osteopaths’ patients were discharged without the need for onward referral. Osteopaths have been shown to bring a return on investment of up to £2 in primary healthcare, and up to £12 in occupational health settings, for each £1 invested in osteopathic interventions.

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