3. Clinical Practice

The clinical practice project aims to promote best practice and support patient choice

Latest News

The Osteopathic Development Group (ODG) has released consultation results on two proposals, which took place earlier this year. The project team would like to thank all those who took the time to provide their views.

In summary, there was overall support for the proposed competency framework, though respondents identified several areas where more detail would be helpful. Importantly, the consultation also highlighted areas of concern in relation to the profession’s understanding of some essential areas such as safeguarding. Feedback on the proposed accreditation model was strongly divided with concerns expressed on the potential impact of the proposed scheme and how it would work.

Based on the feedback received, the ODG board has agreed not to pursue the accreditation proposal at this time and will focus on developing a supportive framework that will help osteopaths to assess their competencies and assist in planning their learning and professional development. It will also explore how to provide support to the profession in priority areas such as safeguarding.

Read the statement released by the ODG group in full, here. If you have any questions in relation to this statement then don’t hesitate to contact the Project Team, using their details below.

The ODG Consultation

The ODG sought feedback on its draft competences for osteopaths who work with children and young people, and the proposed accreditation model for those seeking recognition of their work in this area. The consultation ran from 16th February to 20th April 2018.

Click here to access the consultation document.

As part of the consultation process, the ODG held a webinar on Monday 26th March. It was an opportunity to gain more information on the proposals and ask questions directly of those involved. You can view the recorded webinar here.

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 accredited clinical practice project aimed to explore how additional infrastructure might support the public to make an informed decision on their care.

The main focus for the project was 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 was 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.

Next steps


Based on feedback from the initial research, the ODG decided to begin by developing a framework for osteopaths who work with children. In our surveys, patients said that accreditation was particularly important in relation to the treatment of children, and 26% of osteopaths declared an interest in this area. The ODG’s intention is to develop a similar framework for other areas of practice over time.

The project team has been working with a team of consultants and the four UK colleges that offer formal post-registration training in the osteopathic care of children; the British College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Foundation for Paediatric Osteopathy, Sutherland Cranial College of Osteopathy and the University College of Osteopathy (formerly BSO). A competence framework for osteopaths who work with children, and a draft scheme for accrediting those with expertise in this area have been produced. The ODG  consulted on these draft plans early in 2018. Please see the Latest News section above which provides further details of the outcome of this consultation.

Project team

The project is led by members of the Osteopathic Alliance (Nik Woodhead, Liz Hayden), which represents the majority of the profession’s independent post-registration training institutions, the Institute of Osteopathy (Ben Katz), the Council of Osteopathic Educational Institutions (Jemma Sager), 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.


Ben Katz: ben@iosteopathy.org