We have all been (or a family member or a friend) to an osteopath. What very few people seem to be aware of is that there are only a handful of countries in Europe that legally recognise the profession of Osteopathy (Finland, France, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Malta, Portugal, Switzerland and the UK). That means that although you will find highly skilled osteopaths all over Europe, in non regulated countries anyone can say they are osteopaths as no legal definition of the profession exists. It also means that in regulated countries, the definition, education and training of osteopaths is different from one country to the other, limiting professionals relocating to other European countries.
It is with that in mind that osteopaths around Europe have decided to get together and produce a set of standards for the profession.
On Thursday 29th September, the European Federation of Osteopaths (EFO), and the Forum for Osteopathic Regulation in Europe (FORE) formally launched the CEN standard for osteopathic education and practice across Europe at the European Parliament.
The event was hosted by MEP Tom Vandenkendelaere from EPP and facilitated by 2Grow Consulting, a Brussels based consultancy.
It was attended by many influential figures from the world of osteopathy as well as guests such as Belgian Olympic silver medal winning hockey captain John Dohman, who also happens to be a final year osteopathic student at ULB.
With osteopathic research previously limited, James Booth, a Consultant Osteopath at the Centre for Spinal Surgery at Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham, UK, presented his soon to be published data.
James Booth and the osteopathic team at the QMC spinal unit are involved in pioneering research to help understand the effects of osteopathic treatment for patients with chronic and complex spinal pain. For the past 5 years, they have been collecting data on the outcomes of treatment for all of the patients seen in their clinics.
Analysis of this data has shown that osteopathic treatment is very safe, and both clinically and financially effective in what is a growing yet challenging area of healthcare provision. This research is helping both them, and the wider osteopathic profession to provide the most effective and appropriate care to patients suffering with chronic back and neck pain.
This CEN standard is a first step that will allow the osteopathic profession to lobby in the member states as well as on a European level to legally recognise the profession of osteopathy leading to the future accreditation of training institutes for osteopathy and better, safer care of patients all across Europe.
To see the full video of the event click here.
The Brussels Times