About the Profession and Danske Osteopater
Osteopathy is fully regulated and licensed healthcare profession in Denmark, since 1. July 2018, which mean that the title ‘osteopat’ is protected. Due to the official regulation of osteopathy, you are not allowed to use the title ‘osteopat’ if you don’t hold an authorization as an osteopath, a license to practice, from the Danish Patient Safety Authority.
Danske Osteopater (DO) is the only professional association of regulated osteopaths in Denmark, and consists of both fully trained osteopaths and osteopathy students. The DO was officially founded in 2013, and is a member orientated organization, focusing on their members’ professional interests and promotion of the profession itself. Our membership number has grown by 312% between 2013-2020, and the DO now represent just above 270 osteopaths and 30 osteopathy students, in our thriving association.
Danske Osteopater are heavily involved with the Nordic Osteopathic Alliance (NOA), are full members of the European Federation & Forum for Osteopathy (EFFO) and of the Osteopathic International Alliance (OIA).
Hanna Tómasdóttir has been the President of Danske Osteopater since 2017, and she had the leading role in the political process for authorization of osteopaths in Denmark. She also serves as the President of the European Federation & Forum for Osteopathy (EFFO) and Board of Directors at the Osteopathic International Alliance (OIA).
Educational Level and Programmes
There are currently no accredited Danish educational programmes, but two Type II, or part-time, educational programmes, on top of prior healthcare profession (typically as physiotherapists) are offered in Denmark by: The International Academy of Osteopathy (IAO) and The European School of Osteopathy (ESO). The IAO program leads to both a DO degree (from the IAO), and a Master of Science in Osteopathy, accredited by the Buckinghamshire New University. The ESO program leads to a DO degree.
A bachelor’s degree or equivalent to bachelor level, which corresponds to level 6 of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) is required to obtain a license to practice Osteopathy in Denmark. The total amount of hours should be no less than 4200, incl. 1000 hours of supervised clinical practice (adopted from The WHO Benchmarks).
First Contact Healthcare Profession and Standards for Practice
The osteopathic profession in Denmark is a primary contact healthcare profession, with no restrictions to scope of practice and patients can self-refer. Osteopaths in Denmark work currently only in private practices. The national law and baseline for the educational level for obtaining an official license to practice as an osteopath has been adapted from the WHO Benchmarks for Training in Osteopathy and The European CEN standard.
If you don’t hold a danish authorization as a MD, physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor, you are not allowed to use spinal manipulations, HVLA, on the whole spine: lumbar, thoracic nor cervical spine. Spinal manipulations are only allowed to be used by Danish authorized MD’s, osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists.
Authorizations (official license to practice as osteopaths) are issued by Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed, the Patient Safety Authority, who are the national regulator of all 19 recognized healthcare professions in Denmark. It is the Patient Safety Authority who evaluates each individual educational level, and issues an official license to practice as an osteopath, if the applicant meets the official qualification. The title ‘osteopath’ is protected. Practitioners are only allowed to use terms indicating that they are osteopaths offering osteopathy, if they are licensed osteopaths.
There are also specific legal demands for the patient record keeping for osteopaths, and your clinical notes has to be written in Danish. You can apply for an authorization at the Patient Safety Authority, read the legislation and explore which educational criteria you have to comply with, here:
Non-EU countries (third countries)
If you are a national from a country outside of the EU/EEA the process of obtaining authorisation (official license to practise osteopathy in Denmark), might take several years, as all non-EU/EEA applicants are considered from at third country.
So if you are:
- A national of a non-EU/EEA country and have completed your training in a non-EU/EEA country, or:
- A national of a non-EU/EEA country and have completed your training in an EU/EEA country (other than Denmark)
- A national of an EU/EEA country and have completed your training in a non-EU/EEA country
The following applies:
You have to go through three steps to obtain a Danish authorization: 1) your education must be approved by the Patient Safety Authority, 2) you must pass a Danish language test, and 3) you must complete an evaluation employment. Each step must be documented. The Patient Safety will guide you through the entire process, which can take several years.
From 01.07. 2023 you will also need an official license to practise as an osteopath, to become a member of Danske Osteopater.
The EFFO has developed a good overview document, about regulation of our profession in Europe, with very useful information when considering moving to Europe, which can be downloaded for free here: https://www.effo.eu/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Regulation-of-Osteopaths-Europe-FINAL-1.pdf