The Institute of Osteopathy welcomes news of NHS England’s plans to mobilise other healthcare professionals to support GPs to improve patient access to services. Osteopaths, along with physiotherapists and paramedics, are one of the healthcare professions that have been identified as part of the solution.
First published in the NHS Long Term Plan last month, the intention is to consider how the expertise of allied health professionals can expediate access to the right care and services.
We know that musculoskeletal conditions, such as back, neck, joint, muscle and arthritic conditions can account for up to one third of GP appointments. Direct access to health professionals who are best able to support patients with these conditions, will no doubt improve patient outcomes.
Matthew Rogers, iO Head of Professional Development explains osteopaths role in this: “We have been in discussions with NHS England for some time regarding how osteopaths can reduce the strain on medical colleagues and bolster our ever stretched National Health Service. As experts in supporting the health of those we care for, we believe that direct access to osteopaths, along with our other health professional colleagues, can make a real difference to patient outcomes.
“There are obvious workforce challenges for the NHS. With approximately 5,000 osteopaths available in the UK, there is a pool of additional resources that could be deployed within the NHS to provide these services.”
We will continue to work with NHS England to consider how osteopaths can support service improvements and care.