The Institute of Osteopathy (iO) is the professional membership body for osteopaths. We work to support, unite, develop and promote the osteopathic profession for the improvement of public health and patient care. The Institute is proud to represent two-thirds of osteopaths in the United Kingdom.
Osteopathic practice is a safe and effective approach that aims to promote the health of patients through the use of manual therapy, exercise and health advice.
Osteopaths are highly trained, healthcare professionals who are experts in the musculoskeletal system (muscles, bones, joints and associated tissues) and its relationship with other systems in the body to optimise health. Osteopaths use a wide range of gentle hands-on techniques that focus on releasing tension, improving mobility and optimising function.
This is often used together with exercise and advice, designed to help patients relieve or manage pain, keep active and maintain the best of health. Osteopathic care is suitable for people of all ages from babies to the elderly. People from a wide range of backgrounds seek osteopathic treatment, whether elite or recreational sports people, pregnant women, manual workers or office professionals. Osteopaths also work closely with other healthcare professionals in a variety of fields, and provide onward referral if required.
Quality in osteopathic practice
The iO believes that the public deserve a consistently high quality of patient care from the osteopaths that serve them. iO membership confers a level of care to patients, quality and value of service. Members are expected to operate in line with the values and purpose of the iO, which demonstrates to the public, patients and colleagues, that members have the highest standards of integrity, professional and personal conduct.
The iO values collaborative and partnership working with other healthcare professions, healthcare agencies and patient groups, with the aim of improving the health of the public and raising awareness of health-related issues. The iO’s health campaigns encourage osteopaths to inform, educate and discuss key health messages with their patients, as well as directly with members of the public.
The iO believes that osteopaths can provide expertise and resource to overstretched NHS services. With these ever increasing demands in mind, the iO is working with NHS England, Public Health England and Health Education England in an effort to mobilise allied healthcare professionals, such as osteopaths, to improve access to care and identify innovative service reforms.
Driving development in the profession
As the membership body of the osteopathic profession in the UK, the iO is leading development as secretariat and member of the Osteopathic Development Group (ODG). This forum brings together all the major osteopathic organisation for the long-term development of the osteopathic profession for the benefit of individual osteopaths, the public and the profession as a whole. Along with the Institute, ODG members include the regulator (the General Osteopathic Council), National Council for Osteopathic Research, the Osteopathic Foundation, and the educational institutions delivering undergraduate and post-graduate training.
Training and registration
Patient safety is of paramount importance to the osteopathic profession, as evidenced by its rigorous training and registration requirements. By law, an osteopath must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC), who regulates the profession in the UK.
Osteopaths are trained to degree standard, attaining either a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) or integrated Masters (MOst.), while undertaking a minimum of 1000 hours of patient contact prior to qualification. Registration with GOsC is renewed annually, subject to retention of the necessary insurance and meeting mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) requirements: keeping skills and knowledge up-to-date and maintaining high standards of professional practice.
Support for members and representing the profession
Central to the iO’s purpose is the support of our members. The iO provides a range of services, resources and best practice advice in clinical development, business practice and engagement opportunities, that support our members to provide high-quality healthcare services. With two-thirds of osteopaths in the UK as members, the iO is also well placed to represent the views of the profession, listening and engaging with members on key issues and developments. iO staff network extensively with osteopathic groups at both a regional and national level and host the largest osteopathic networking event in the UK – the iO Annual Convention.
Please click here to view the iO Annual Report 2019.