GPs and Others Can Refer to Osteopaths
Referring Medical Professionals
Osteopaths can be seen by all patients on a self referral basis, however some may prefer to be referred direct from their General Practitioner. In recognition of the high standards and competence achieved by osteopaths, the British Medical Association has authorised GPs to refer to registered osteopaths.
Osteopaths have sound clinical musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) training, and the primary care skills to triage for pathology requiring referral back to a General Practitioner for further medical evaluation.
Medical Research Council trials from 2004 compared lower back pain treatments and found that spinal manipulation and GP Care together is both effective and cost efficient for patients (UK Back Pain, Exercise and Manipulation Trial, 2004). The Department of Health has also published guidelinese which support the establishment of multidisciplinary assessment services and recognised that musculoskeletal problems can be effectively treated with osteoapthy (The MSK Services Framework, 2006).
NICE has released guidance on early treatment of non specific persistent low back pain. The guidance recommends manual therapy, such as osteopathy, as part of an effective treatment approach.
Increasingly osteopaths are working with both general practitioners and other healthcare professionals to provide relief to patients suffering from neck, back and shoulder pain, headaches and migraines, sports injuries, upper limb injuries developed in the workplace and other musculoskeletal problems.
Osteopaths are increasingly used by general practitioners for rapid assessment of musculoskeletal complaints. Tracy can see most patients within 24 to 48 hours.
In May 2009 the BMA developed informative guidance on how to refer to independent practitioners, including osteopaths. I welcome such referrals and would be happy to meet with any GP who is considering referring patients to me if they should wish to do so.
Tracy Hannigan’s registration number is 8060 can be verified at the General Osteopathic Council website.