GPs and the unexplored world of osteopathy : a descriptive study

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Currie, Kushla Grace
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Osteopathy
Unitec Institute of Technology
Niven, Elizabeth
McEwen, Megan
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
general practitioners (GP)
qualitative research
family medicine
primary care (medicine)
Currie, K. G. (2017). GPs and the Unexplored World of Osteopathy: A descriptive study. An unpublished 90-credit research thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Osteopathy at Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
BACKGROUND: The relationship between osteopaths and General Practitioners (GPs) is of key importance to the development of osteopathy as a profession in New Zealand (NZ). Gaining an understanding of what lies behind the GPs’ perceptions and attitudes toward osteopathy is essential in terms of building a better working relationship. Investigating the influence of this attitude on current referral practice will provide further insight. OBJECTIVE: This descriptive study explores GPs’ perceptions and attitudes toward osteopathy and their current referral practice. METHOD: Snowball sampling recruited six GPs from Auckland. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and analysed using descriptive method. RESULTS: One major theme emerged: The unexplored world of osteopathy. Participants knew that osteopaths were Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) approved treatment providers but knowledge beyond that was varied and limited. Perception and attitude toward osteopathy stemmed from education, patient reporting or personal experience and was connected to the bigger picture of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). A minor theme related to referral behaviour also surfaced. CONCLUSION: For osteopaths and GPs to have better working relationships, osteopathic education, treatment use and treatment details need to be transparent. GPs require an understanding of how osteopathic practice could fit into the current biomedical structure. To trust osteopathy, they need confirmation that osteopathy is underpinned by sound scientific evidence. This may enhance the perception and attitude toward osteopathy and positively affect referral practice.
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