Osteopathy: judgment confirms medical status

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Osteopathy: Court decision confirms medical status
A judgment from the end of 2008 by the Administrative Court (VG) Düsseldorf regarding osteopathy in Germany has now become legally valid after the plaintiff's application for appeal has been withdrawn. This confirmed that osteopathic therapy is medical.

A physiotherapist who had studied osteopathy at a private osteopathy school from 1999 to 2005 had sued. He had done this according to the criteria of the so-called Federal Working Group for Osteopathy (BAO) e.V., which states, among other things, that the osteopathy school must include five years or at least 1,350 hours.

The reason for the complaint was that the district government had prohibited the physiotherapist after a press report about his osteopathic activity. The physiotherapist held against - with reference to the training and examination regulations of the BAO.

The court refused. Accordingly, it is a medicine according to § 1 paragraph 2 Heilpraktikergesetz (HeilprG). Section 1 (1) of the HeilprG states that permission is required for anyone who wants to practice medicine without having been appointed as a doctor. Medical expertise is a prerequisite for this, because treatment can cause health damage.

Observers see in the now valid judgment a weakening of the osteopathic institution BAO and assume in the future that they will turn to an independent profession of the osteopath via a special alternative practitioner test specially created for the osteopath.

The court literally said: “A possible review to determine whether the practice of medicine by the plaintiff poses a risk to the health of the population should be limited to the review of the knowledge and skills necessary for the proper fulfillment of the specifically planned professional activity are."

Hesse already has the further education and examination regulations in the field of osteopathy (WPO) issued by the local Ministry of Social Affairs. It states that massage therapists, physiotherapists and medical lifeguards can obtain permission to work as osteopaths if they are resident or have an employment relationship in the state of Hesse. (tf, 10/23/2010)

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