British School of Osteopathy Bethnal Green
The Bethnal Green Health Centre is set amidst the noisy traffic and bustling crowds of London, just off a main road and a few minutes’ walk from Bethnal Green tube station. At the time of writing it was also undergoing major building and improvement works. These were to provide new facilities including separate treatment rooms for services such as the BSO’s osteopathy clinic, which ran one afternoon a week for patients of this busy NHS GP practice.
At the time of writing, the Bethnal Green Health Centre was temporarily operating from a series of portakabins, with BSO clinic tutor Danny Church and his team of senior osteopathy degree students organising their sessions from a tiny back office, and using the GPs’ consulting rooms for treating patients.
“Osteopaths need to be able to adapt to working effectively with patients in different settings, so this is very good experience for our students,” explained Danny Church cheerfully. “And it’s the same for everyone working here – it’s important for students to interact and become part of the wider health care team. They get to see, for example, the pressurised environment that many GPs have to work in, including having to make decisions about patients within a very short consultation time. For the future of osteopathy as a profession, increased understanding between osteopaths and the NHS can only be a good thing.”
“The treatment I’ve had, and the exercises I’ve been given to do have kept me walking, and have kept my pain bearable,” said one regular patient. Retired, she was keen to avoid having an operation, but did not want her problem left untreated. “I’d never heard of an osteopath or been to one before,” she continues. “Someone was telling me how much it costs privately — I think it is brilliant that this is free on the NHS, and the students have all been marvellous.”