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Extended / Enhanced Practitioners

Working in an advanced / extended / enhanced capacity

Increasingly health professionals roles are changing and expanding, and many medical doctors and allied health professionals work in a more integrated way, and undertaking more complex responsibility, as the nature of health service provision develops. Nationally and internationally many allied health professionals such as osteopaths, nurses and physiotherapists have been working at a more complex and specialised level than their usual general scope of practice.

New role titles have been developed, such as enhanced practitioner, advanced practitioner, and extended scope practitioner. In many cases these have become formal qualifications professionals can undertake to demonstrate their additional knowledge, experience and capability.

Osteopaths have within their general scope of practice the ability  to offer care to children and women, and all undergraduate training enables competence in for example general musculoskeletal care of children and women across the lifespan.  

However, the health needs of many babies, children and women can be complex, and their needs must be met by practitioners with additional post-registration / post graduate skills and knowledge. 

In osteopathy there are not yet formal recognised enhanced / extended roles, although several educational institutions offer a variety of post graduate continuing professional development courses to satisfy the profession-wide acknowledgement that further training is required for osteopaths working effectively in the care of babies, children and women. 

To this end, whombs have considered the concepts of the extended / advanced / enhanced roles, and whilst they are not formally required by the regulator in order for osteopaths to give care to women and children, we feel practitioners who have undertaken additional and extensive further training, and who have extensive clinical experience with women and / or children, should be more easily identified for the general public, and for other health professionals. 

As these roles require a great and more complex knowledge and skill set, the evidence to inform these additional scopes can be drawn from the wider research literature, beyond general osteopathic literature.  So, the evidence to support a particular approach to care is informed by wide scientific, medical, philosophical, physiological, psychological and health services literature, for example. It is expected that an osteopath undertaking these additional roles will have a wider experience of this broader evidence base than their basic training. 

Whombs has therefore gathered a team of highly experienced practitioners and educators, to develop a view as to the training needs of this type of practice role and have organised their requirements to award the certification marks accordingly.  Thus we hope they represent a clearer guide for the public concerning an osteopaths additional training and experience. 

They remain a voluntary certification, osteopaths are not required to hold them, but they may give additional information for the public when seeking a particular practitioner to support them. 

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