3. Advanced Practice

The advanced clinical practice (ACP) project aims to determine how osteopaths’ areas of clinical expertise can best be communicated to the public, and how osteopaths can be supported in developing their clinical interests.


Project background


As their careers progress, osteopaths continue to develop their clinical skills and many become interested in particular areas of practice. The pathways through which osteopaths develop their clinical skills and interests are diverse, as are the ways in which they inform potential patients about them. This may make it difficult for patients to find the most suitable osteopath to meet their needs. The advanced clinical practice project is exploring how additional infrastructure might support the public to make an informed decision on their care.

The main focus for the project is to understand what would make it easier for patients to find the right practitioner for them. The project team have been consious to involve the profession from the start, speaking to osteopaths and their patients, as well as looking at relevant research and analysing models from other professions. A survey was sent out to the profession early in 2015, inviting feedback on the options identified in the first stage of the research and was analysed by the project team.

Initial research phase/s


The main focus for the project is to understand what would make it easier for patients to find the right practitioner for them. The first phase of research included:

  • An audit of osteopaths’ websites to identify how practitioners communicate their areas of interest to prospective patients
  • A literature review
  • A series of semi-structured interviews with a range of stakeholders, including osteopaths and patients took place between November and December 2014
  • A questionnaire was developed and sent out early in 2015 to gather the opinions of patients and the public regarding this topic
  • The project team consulted with the Regional Communications Network (a regional societies meeting hosted by GOsC) in November 2014 and the ODG board throughout the development of this project
  • An e-survey for the profession has recently been circulated.

Now that the research has been analysed, a draft scheme will be developed that will act as a voluntary supportive framework for osteopathic Advanced Clinical Practice.

Project team

The project is led by members of the Osteopathic Alliance (Nik Woodhead, Liz Hayden, Ben Katz), which represents the majority of the profession’s independent post-registration training institutions, the Council of Osteopathic Educational Institutions, which represents the providers of pre-registration training, and the General Osteopathic Council (Steven Bettles).

The project is funded by an award from General Osteopathic Council and supported by the Institute of Osteopathy. Health Academix, an independent research team, was appointed to conduct the initial research.


Ben Katz: ben@iosteopathy.org

Get involved

For more information contact Ben Katz – ben@iosteopathy.org