The osteopath becomes a full-fledged health profession. The decree that officially recognizes this professional figure was published in the Official Gazette, implementing the provisions of the 2020 State-Regions agreement, after approval by the Council of Ministers, last June.
The agreement describes the identification of the figure and profile of the osteopath, his fields of activity and competence. Also, the agreement illustrates the operational context of the osteopath and defines the field of intervention, the assessment activities and, finally, the operating methods of the treatment.
Above all, the agreement introduces the need to obtain a specific degree in order to perform this professional activity. Until now, in fact, it was enough to attend and graduate from training schools.
Precisely the Article 1 of the agreement at hand defines the osteopath as a “health professional, in possession of a three-year university degree or equivalent qualification, who is registered in the professional register. Moreover, the osteopath performs independently, or in collaboration with other health figures for the prevention and maintenance of health through the osteopathic treatment of somatic dysfunctions not related to pathologies, within the muscular and skeletal system “.
However, to clarify how the osteopath must operate, Article 2 of the same text contains among the introduced principles, the planning of the “osteopathic treatment” by choosing “exclusively manual, non-invasive and external osteopathic approaches and techniques, appropriate for the patient and the clinical context”; the execution of the treatment “in safety, and respecting the dignity and sensitivity of the patient”; the evaluation of the results and the appropriateness of the treatment, as well as, the “planning of the follow-up by sharing them with the patient, caregivers and/or with other health professionals”; also, the promotion of “educational actions for the patient under treatment, for the family, and for the community”, redirecting the patient to the doctor when the symptoms persist beyond the expected times or exacerbate.
The criteria for the evaluation of professional experience and equivalence of educational qualifications will be subsequently identified, in order to recognize the professional training paths attended up to now by those who already work in the sector. This is an important step, which ends a process begun with the then-Minister of Health, Lorenzin, in 2018, who recognized this profession as “healthcare” for the first time. The ratification of the presidency of the Republic, today, closes a cycle and opens the future of academic training for anyone who wants to pursue this career.