GP Referral to an Osteopath


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Your GP may have suggested that you visit an osteopath. This is common for people who suffer from chronic symptoms including back pain, shoulder pain, migraines etc. Your GP may also refer you to an osteopath if you are pregnant or have just given birth (especially if your birth was particularly traumatic or your baby is experiencing problems sleeping or appears agitated). GPs have guide lines to follow when referring you to an osteopath and these guidelines are laid down by the General Medical Council (GMC) and British Medical Association (BMA) which are the main regulatory bodies for GPs.

GP Referral to an Osteopath

All GPs are registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) and must therefore follow their guidelines and standards of practise. These include the procedures that GPs are required to follow when referring you to an osteopath. This means that you should be sure that any GP referral occurs in a timely manner. It also means that if your GP has referred you to an osteopath, then they believe that an osteopath is the most appropriate healthcare provider for your particular problem.

If this is the case then your GP will probably prompt you to keep them informed of your progress during subsequent GP visits. It is unlikely that your osteopath will be able to keep your GP up to date with your treatment due to confidentiality guidelines, but you may be able to discuss this with them.

Self Referral to an Osteopath

Self referral occurs when you are not referred by your GP and simply phone up an osteopath and book an appointment yourself. This is a perfectly normal procedure and, in fact, the majority of patients seen by osteopaths self refer. However, even if you self-refer, the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) highly recommend that you tell your GP that you are receiving osteopathic treatment and that you keep your GP informed of your progress. This ensures that your medical records are kept up to date.


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