Council has determined seven scopes of practice for osteopaths
(1) Scope of Practice: Osteopath
(2) Scope of Practice: Western Medical Acupuncture (WMA) and Related Needling Techniques
(3) Scope of Practice: Gerontology
(4) Scope of Practice: Pain Management
(5) Scope of Practice: Special Purpose
(6) Scope of Practice: Trainee Osteopath
(7) Scope of Practice: Visiting Osteopathic Presenter / Educator
(8) Scope of Practice: Child and Adolescent Health
Please click on each scope to see details.
Section 8 of the HPCA Act requires that health practitioners must not practise outside their scope of practice.
Extended Scopes of Practice
The purpose of an extended scope of
practice is to permit holders of the general osteopathic scope of
practice to extend their clinical skills. The Council wishes
to make explicit that the prescribed qualification for the general
osteopathic scope of practice is not adequate to ensure competent
practice and protect the health and safety of the public for areas of
practice where an extended scope has been developed.
Osteopathic Scope of Practice
Osteopaths are primary healthcare practitioners.
Central to the competent practice of osteopathy is an understanding of
the role of the primary care team and referral routes within the primary
care team and to hospital based services.
Osteopathy is a person-centred form of manual medicine informed by osteopathic principles.
Osteopathic medicine is not confined to historical osteopathic
knowledge; rather osteopathic philosophies and concepts inform the
interpretation and application of interdisciplinary knowledge and the
basic medical sciences. Osteopathic medicine is an evolving field of
knowledge and incorporates new concepts as our understanding of health
and disease progresses.
Osteopaths treat people and conceptualise health and disease
within a broad holistic bio-psycho-social and environmental context. Osteopaths
have a particular interest in conditions of the neuro-musculoskeletal
system and the management of pain. Osteopaths seek to prevent disease
and promote health by empowering patients through sharing knowledge on
lifestyle choices that improve health outcomes.
Osteopathic practice may be situated within a continuum of healthcare and wellness,with
osteopaths applying evidence-based approaches to the management of
named pathologies and conditions through to promoting wellbeing through
The competent practice of osteopathy clearly requires broad diagnostic competencies
and a differential diagnosis is required to determine if a structural
diagnosis and the use of osteopathic manual treatment (OMT) is
appropriate. Although osteopathic practice is often defined by OMT, the
practice of osteopathy is not limited to a structural diagnosis and
OMT. Whilst there may well be a somatic component to disease, OMT may
not be a suitable or principal modality in every presentation.
Osteopaths work across the lifespan and may treat individuals from birth to old age,
or deliver services in group settings. Professional knowledge may be
applied in a range of settings not limited to clinical practice, such as
health promotion, education and research, health policy and healthcare
Section 9 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (the
Act) allows for specified activities to be restricted to registered
health practitioners, in order to protect members of the public from the
risk of serious or permanent harm.
The following is a restricted activity:
Applying high velocity, low amplitude manipulative techniques to cervical spinal joints.
This is specific to cervical spinal joints - where the risk of stroke
or death related to manipulation occurs. The wording "high velocity,
low amplitude" is commonly understood by practitioners as a description
of the dangerous element to this activity.