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What to expect from your consultation?

Your first consultation

You do not need the referral of a doctor to be seen at the BSO clinic, although some patients do come to us following GP advice.

Osteopaths treat the whole person so during the first consultation your student osteopath will ask you a lot of questions to gain a good understanding of your case (known as a case history). This is followed by a thorough examination, where you will be asked to undress to your underwear if you are happy to do so. Disposable gowns are also provided for you to wear if you prefer. You may be asked to perform some movements, and the student osteopath may move different parts of your body to see how they are functioning, or do additional tests. This allows the assessment of the relevance of different parts of your body to your presenting problem, and the diagnosis of possible causes of your problem.

Consultations at the BSO are supervised by clinic tutors who are qualified osteopaths, so your student osteopath will report to their tutor on their findings, and will then talk to you about what they think is causing the problem. S/he will also talk to you about possible treatment options, possible effects, and recommendations. Where necessary, and normally only with your permission, we may need to write to your GP or other healthcare practitioners if a referral is indicated.

Your first consultation may take up to an hour and a half, and (depending upon many factors) may not always result in treatment. If this is the case (and it is appropriate) then you will be re-booked for a further appointment as soon as possible. Treatment techniques that may be used during a first or subsequent consultation include a wide range of gentle, non-invasive applications such as deep tissue massage, joint articulation and manipulation. Where techniques are undertaken, your student osteopath will always ask for your consent in advance. S/he will also advise you about lifestyle issues, such as exercise, diet or work posture, which may help you.

Further consultations

Some patients need only one appointment; others may have a course of therapy or return periodically for the long-term management of a condition. Normally the treatment of a patient is determined according to their progression rather than the prescription of a set number of treatment sessions.

As the BSO is a training establishment, there will be a certain amount of change with regards to the practitioners you may see as students progress with their studies. While we try to ensure that patients see the same student osteopath, it is sometimes necessary to see a different student or tutor.

The BSO understands that patients may wish to see an osteopath of the same gender (sex), particularly that female patients may wish to see female students and tutors. Whilst we can usually arrange for you to see a student osteopath of the same gender, it isn't always possible to provide a same gender tutor. To enable the clinic to accommodate your needs; every time you book in you should advise reception of your preference and inform your student osteopath when they come to collect you.

Please note that to ensure you are effectively cared for and for osteopathic treatment to be administered it is usually necessary for a clinic tutor to be involved in your evaluation and examination. In most cases treatment cannot be given without this input.

If you would like to have a chaperone present please bring a friend or family member with you to your appointment if you wish. Unfortunately the BSO is not able to provide chaperones (although another student may be able to sit in on your treatment in this role, if available).

For more information, please click here to download our new patient information leaflet. We also have this leaflet available in French, Spanish, Portuguese and in Large Print.

"I have been in receipt of osteopathic treatment from the BSO since it was based at Suffolk Street, off Trafalgar Square in the 1980s. Most recently I have been successfully treated for a neck problem: I am now completely free of pain and discomfort. I am very pleased to recommend the BSO."
Maurice Soffa, BSO patient.

"I was very impressed with the professionalism of the students and with the standard of care that they provided. I was immediately at ease and felt in the very best of hands given the quality of the students coupled with the detailed supervision provided by the tutors. What better way to solve my aches and pains than to be treated by people educated in the latest techniques, supporting the development of talented people and at an extremely competitive price."
Siobhan Sheridan, BSO patient.

How we use the information that you share with us

As a training establishment, some of the information contained in your case notes may be used for additional reasons, for example:

  • In the teaching and training of osteopaths;
  • To audit the osteopathic are we are providing;
  • To audit other processes and practices;
  • To help plan the development of osteopathic care at our Southwark Bridge Road clinic and external clinics;
  • As part of funding arrangements.
  • In health research programmes approved by the BSO Ethics Committee. (You will be specifically asked to consent to any research project in which you participate directly)

In the examples listed above, any information used is entirely anonymised and not traceable back to the individual patients. If you would prefer not to have your information employed in any of these activities, please let us know.