‘Opening-out’ of practice for Scottish osteopaths

The Scottish Government’s publication of its Route Map gave a clear message that NHS Scotland would be rolling back its community services from the 28 May. This is the signal for us to recommend to osteopaths operating in Scotland that you can now consider opening out your practice to see patients other than emergency cases, once you have undertaken the necessary risk assessment of your practice, and implemented and recorded your infection prevention and control measures.

As I have previously expressed, this is not a return to ‘business as usual’ and adaptations of how we operate will be needed to reduce the risk of infection.

The guidance that we have produced has been developed to enable you to assess and manage these risks, to ensure that the public and those working within your practice, are confident that their safety is of paramount concern. Equally important they are there to protect you as practitioners.

Only once you have made the relevant adaptations to your practice, should you consider undertaking face to face consultations.  We are also recommending a sequence of steps is undertaken with each patient which will be based on your professional judgement, determine the clinical need and risks involved of a face to face consultation. If you have yet to do so, I would recommend that you refer to our website for the detail of the guidance on how to adapt your practice and the advice on the management of your face to face consultations.

Since the start of this pandemic, the iO has taken Government and public health bodies’ guidelines for regulated healthcare professions as the foundation for the provision of guidance to the osteopathic community. Throughout, we have engaged with the regulator, insurers, and other professional bodies for those operating in private healthcare.

While public confidence is, at present, understandably cautious, we believe that we play a vital role in supporting the health of the people in our Scottish communities and we need to ensure that they feel confident to seek the care they may need.

I understand that there are still many uncertainties and questions. What I can assure you is that we are working as hard as we can to provide the information and the guidance that will support you make the right decisions for you, your practice and your patients, and to do so safely.

I would like to offer anyone to contact the iO team, or indeed Glynis Fox, your iO Council member based in Edinburgh with any feedback or questions you may have. Also, the Scottish Osteopathic Society, who I know provide an excellent means to connect with colleagues across the country.

As I have said from the start, if we continue to work together, we will emerge from this crisis, and emerge stronger.

Maurice Cheng
CEO, Institute of Osteopathy