Are you first aid trained? Do you need to be?

In the recent chiropractic court case the coroner recommended that first aid training should be compulsory for chiropractors. You may have wondered whether it is compulsory for osteopaths?

Is it compulsory?

The standards state that you must comply with health and safety legislation and that you should have appropriate procedures in place in the event of a medical emergency (D5).

The health and safety executive provides comprehensive advice on first aid provision available here. There is a lot of flexibility for interpretation.

Whether you are self-employed, working from home or working in a larger clinic there are some definite requirements:

You must have first aid equipment available.

You must have an appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements

All workplaces should do an assessment of their first aid needs and make appropriate arrangements, the HSE leaves it quite open for each workplace to assess their own requirements.

Under the regulations you have no legal duty to provide first aid for non-employees however HSE strongly recommends you include them in your first-aid provision.

What do you think about osteopaths training in first aid?

In my opinion, all osteopaths should be trained in Emergency First Aid at Work.


People coming to visit an osteopath are coming because they are in pain or feeling unwell. There is a potential that those patients may present with symptoms leading to a first aid emergency. Thankfully I’ve not had to use my emergency skills yet but when you speak to osteopaths many have had cause to use their first aid training.

As a patient coming to a health professional I would expect them to know what to do in an emergency and certainly not to do anything that would make the situation worse.

What a terrible experience it would be for one of your patients to have a cardiovascular incident and you don’t know what to do to help them. You might save a life.

Training in first aid will give you 7 hours of CPD within each of your 3 year cycles.

Which first aid course?

I’ve been on lots of different first aid courses with varying quality of teaching. The last one I went on showed some excellent videos which really enhanced the course. Particularly memorable was a recording of someone from the onset to actually having a myocardial infarction.

The best, most clinically relevant, and entertaining course I have attended is by Steven Bruce from the Academy of Physical Medicine. These are often run by the Institute of Osteopathy.

Do share your first aid experiences and recommended first aid courses in the comments.

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