New European standard for osteopathy services
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New European standard for osteopathy services

From left: FORE chairman Gert Jen Goede, researcher and osteopath James Booth, MEP​ Tom Vandenkendelaere, former EFO president Jonathan Bailey-Teyletche and current EFO president Marika Jevbratt.

From left: FORE chairman Gert Jen Goede, researcher and osteopath James Booth, MEP​ Tom Vandenkendelaere, former EFO president Jonathan Bailey-Teyletche and current EFO president Marika Jevbratt.

The European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) has adopted and issued a European Standard on Osteopathic Healthcare Provision, which has been developed in partnership with the European Federation of Osteopaths (EFO) and the Forum for Osteopathic Regulation in Europe (FORE). This new standard sets a benchmark for high quality clinical practice, education, safety and ethics.

The European Standard EN 16686 on Osteopathic Healthcare Provision was developed by CEN’s Project Committee on ‘Services for Osteopaths’, which included healthcare professionals from more than 10 European countries. This Project Committee was set up in 2011 by CEN in partnership with EFO and FORE.

The new European Standard specifies requirements and recommendations regarding the healthcare provision, facilities and equipment, education and ethical framework for the practice of osteopathy. When correctly applied, it will help osteopaths to ensure that they provide a safe environment for patients and high-quality treatment. The standard was made available by CEN in July 2015, and has since been published by CEN’s national members in 33 European countries including Malta by the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA).

Osteopathy is a primary contact and patient-centred healthcare discipline that emphasises the interrelationship of structure and function of the body, facilitates the body’s innate ability to heal itself and supports a whole-person approach to all aspects of health and healthy development, principally by the practice of manual treatment.

The new European Standard should contribute to raising awareness and understanding of osteopathic practice throughout Europe, bringing benefits to osteopaths and their patients. EN 16686 is expected to be especially valuable in countries where there are no specific regulations regarding the provision of osteopathic healthcare services.

Jonathan Bailey-Teyletche, president of the EFO, said: “The European Standard on Osteopathic Healthcare Provision provides a benchmark for the level of training that an osteopath should undertake as well as the level of healthcare that should be provided to osteopathic patients throughout Europe.”

The Standard requires osteopaths to complete relevant education and training to a specified level, as well as following continuing professional development. In addition, the European Standard sets out that scientific rigour and evidence-informed practice are an important part of an osteopath’s approach to patient treatment and case management.

Robert Grech, a Maltese osteopath and member of FORE, who was present for the launch at the European Parliament building in Brussels, was appointed by the MCCAA as a technical committee expert who has contributed to the drafting of the European Standard.

Maltese MEP Miriam Dalli, who sits on the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, met Mr Grech and offered her assistance.

Public information leaflets about the profession of osteopathy will be available from the MCCAA in both English and Maltese.

Copies of the Standard are available by contacting the MCCAA on standards@mccaa.org.mt or by calling 2395 2000.

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