Osteopaths step-up! Nearly 25% volunteer to help NHS colleagues

At the Chief AHPs Officers’ webinar on 3 April 2020, Health Education England officially recognised the level of support seen from osteopaths who have put themselves forward to help the NHS.

Reporting on the results of a survey which sought to seek expressions of interest from allied health professionals* who are willing to volunteer to support NHS colleagues, responses from osteopaths and physiotherapists were by far the most common with over 1,200 osteopaths completing the survey – equating to nearly 25% of the entire profession in the UK.

Health Education England, the organisation that coordinates workforce planning and who have been tasked to build capacity under the current emergency measures, conducted the survey between 20–30 March 2020. The survey asked for clinicians willing to volunteer for NHS roles to support our NHS colleagues as they are redeployed to the frontline of COVID-19 care.

Matthew Rogers, the iO’s Head of Professional Development, who has been liaising with Health Education England on behalf of the profession from the outset of the crisis, said, “The NHS’s immediate priority is around the process of redeploying current NHS staff. They will then concentrate on mobilising the new reserves of clinicians that the survey has identified. So that the reserves are immediately deployable when needed, most background checks are being conducted now in anticipation of the time when they will be ‘called-up’.

“Over the coming weeks and months, these reserves will likely be required to backfill NHS staff, potentially man the new Nightingale hospitals opening around the country and to relieve staff who need to take a break to maintain their resilience and productivity.

“It is a great testament to our profession that so many osteopaths have put themselves forward to support our NHS colleagues. We will wait until we are needed and be ready to support in whatever way we can.”

The survey is still open (along with several other ways that you can support our NHS) at www.iosteopathy.org/covid-19/faq

*In England there are 14 recognised Allied Health Professions that include osteopaths, physiotherapists, podiatrists and paramedics. For the full list of Allied Health Professions visit www.england.nhs.uk/ahp/role