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Osteopathy exhibits at the House of Commons

The Council of Osteopathic Educational Institutions (COEI) exhibited at the prestigious Upper Waiting Hall at the House of Commons. Gaining access to such an influential audience in an election year is a unique opportunity to focus on the future of MSK Health and osteopathy’s role in providing local community MSK Care.

 

As a culmination of lobbying efforts over the past few years, COEI were pleased to be accepted to host an exhibition in early March in the Upper Waiting Hall at the Palace of Westminster. The exhibition was supported by the Rt Hon. Tom Tugendhat, Government Minister and MP, and was entitled ‘The Future of Musculoskeletal Health’. The title and theme of their display was deliberately broad to fit with the House of Commons exhibition stipulations, which prevent campaigning or any content of a contentious nature. This positive collaborative effort involved many osteopathic education providers, to which we were happy to contribute, and the project demonstrated tenacity and perseverance in the promotion of the osteopathic profession.

house of commons exhibit

The Upper Waiting Hall, in the House of Commons, is a wide atrium leading to the many committee rooms which are in constant use for activities ranging from All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) meetings, to political party team meetings. The exhibition was on display for one week, it aimed to highlight to MPs the need for improved collaboration and integration of MSK Health professionals in the community with a strong focus on the as yet, underutilised potential of osteopaths.

 

The infographic utilised statistics from Versus Arthritis, ‘The State of Musculoskeletal Health 2023’ document, with additional supportive information from the National Council for Osteopathic Research (NCOR) and the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA). Further discussions led onto issues such as the lack of funding from the NHS Learning Support Fund for osteopathic students as well as the obstacles that some osteopaths face when applying for NHS roles or commissioned contracts. This exhibition did not focus purely on osteopathy and the NHS, nor was it an attempt to reduce and limit the remit of osteopaths, but quite the opposite.

 

The exhibition stand was staffed each day by representatives from the various osteopathic stakeholders, who were on hand to answer questions and take contact details from those who expressed interest. A QR code was presented which provided a direct link to a landing page on the new COEI website where further information was made available.

 

Whilst it was a privilege to attend, the exhibition week coincided with the budget announcements which demanded the time and attention of many ministers and MPs. However, the project was considered a success and has led to continued discussions with MPs with an interest in MSK matters.

 

Thanks was extended to those who coordinated the project within such a short timescale. Ian Fraser (COEI Chair) and Fiona Hamilton (Deputy Chair) for facilitating the project; Steph Edghill, COEI Executive Administrator, and BCNO Group Ambassador and Osteopath, Rob Thomas.

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