National lockdowns: Osteopathic practices to stay open 


The Government legislation today puts in place a further national lockdown for England as of tomorrow, Thursday 5 November, restricting social interactions and non-essential business services. This follows similar increased restrictions brought in by Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in recent weeks.

As expected, the legislation allows the public to continue to access medical services, including osteopathic services, throughout this period and replicates previous legislation that identifies osteopaths as essential workers in the provision of healthcare services.

This position is similar in the other home nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in which osteopaths can remain open for the provision of much needed local health services.

In short, your clinics are permitted to stay open for general practice, which includes domiciliary visits for care.

It was a key message of the Prime Minister’s address on Saturday, that the public should continue to seek the health services they need, keep scheduled appointments and not postpone seeking appropriate care – which underlines the importance placed on individuals accessing the care they need despite social restrictions.

We have always maintained that osteopaths have a vital role to play in the provision of health services in their local communities. It feels like now more than ever your services will be needed in the coming weeks.

We need to highlight to our patients, new and existing, that we are open and here to provide quality care. We understand that some osteopaths are already experiencing cancellations from concerned patients as a result of the leaked lockdown information.  We would encourage all of you to get a message of reassurance out to your patients quickly and clearly.

During this period, public confidence will be key. We would therefore also encourage you to remind your patients of the many adaptations you have put in place for their protection since the last lockdown.

For our part, the iO team will be maximising our use of social media to highlight that osteopathic practices remain open and that people should continue to look after their everyday health needs throughout lockdowns and regional restrictions.

We have available resources to support you with these messages. This includes the video “What to expect from your osteopathic appointment during COVID-19”, the link to which you can add to your website, emails, or social media accounts.

It seems this second wave, while always expected, has hit harder than anticipated. I know that despite the challenges we have already faced this year, we have the resilience and strength of community that will see us through this next phase of the pandemic.

Let’s keep in mind that the services you provide are appreciated, valued and an increasingly vital component to maintaining the health of those in your local community.

Watch Maurice’s message to the profession here.


Maurice Cheng

Chief Executive

Institute of Osteopathy