Further easing of restrictions bodes well for practices

The Government’s announcement on Monday that further eases restrictions in England is to be welcomed by everyone and brings with it, we hope, increasing public confidence, including the confidence to seek osteopathic care.

After months of lockdown and limited NHS services, there will be a real need from the public for your care. We know from our European colleagues that once this level of easing was introduced, demand for osteopathy increased quickly, in some countries returning to pre-COVID levels.

To help ‘restart’ public confidence in seeking care, we will be launching an online promotion campaign soon after the 4 July. We have two aims. Firstly, we want to make clear to existing patients that we are very much open for practice. We also want to reach out to those that have yet to see an osteopath for the first time, about the benefits of doing so after such a long period of inactivity. To support the campaign, we are providing iO members with a toolkit to promote your practice and will be driving online enquiries to the Find an Osteopath page on the iO’s website.

While the recent announcement on social easing relates to England at this point, we expect to see similar moves in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland soon.

Do bear in mind that despite this staggered approach to easing across the four nations, osteopaths can now open, with appropriate measures in place, for face to face consultations right across the UK. We know from the most recent iO business spot survey that over 75% of you are now open, with many others looking to do so from early July.

Some osteopaths are asking what impact the social easing will have on the need for PPE and other measures. Our take on this, at the moment, is that we should remain vigilant about the continuing risk of transmission of the virus.  This latest Government announcement has not changed the public health guidance on infection control, so we have not changed the framework of guidance currently in place. These are on our website to help you work out the relevant and practical adjustments appropriate to your practice.

Do remember that these measures, while cumbersome to implement, will provide additional reassurance to patients. I find it interesting that some colleagues are charging extra for the cost of PPE and not getting any pushback.

We will of course continue to review the guidance as the public health advice changes.

These last three months have been challenging for all of us, but I think we can be cautiously optimistic about the future.

Patients need us, so let us help all of them feel safe to come back.  Other members of the public will need us because the pent-up demand for care is huge, and the iO’s ‘restart’ campaign will support you as you respond to that need.

The community of osteopaths has pulled together strongly over the last three months. Now let’s push together to ensure we end up even stronger and more recognised than ever before.