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Regulation in Switzerland

Osteopathy is a regulated healthcare profession in Switzerland. The following legislation governs the regulation of osteopathy in Switzerland:


Interkantonale Vereinbarung über die Anerkennung von Ausbildungsabschlüssen vom 18. Februar 1993 

Reglement für die interkantonale Prüfung von Osteopathinnen und Osteopathen vom 23. November 2006 

Verordnung der GDK über die Anerkennung und Nachprüfung von ausländischen Berufsqualifikationen in Osteopathie vom 22. November 2012 

The title 'osteopath' is protected in Swiss law (art. 8 para. 3 intercantonal agreement about recognition of diplomas (18th February 1993 see above)).


Currently the federal Gesundheitsdirektorinnen und direktoren (GDK) holds a national Register (NAREG) of health professionals.


To be qualified to practise osteopaths must hold a GDK (intercantonal) diploma in osteopathy and be able to practise osteopathy in respect of 'physical and psychological aspects'. The GDK (intercantonal) diploma in osteopathy is a diploma issued by the competent authority in Switzerland in accordance with art. 3 para 1 (c) of Directive 2005/36/EC (this directive governs the way qualifications are recognised across Europe).


The competent cantonal authorities in Switzerland are mostly the “kantonsärztliche Dienste or Kantonsarztämter” which provide license to practise. After having obtained this license, osteopaths are permitted to practise osteopathy independently. The competent cantonal body (i.e. “kantonsärztliche Dienste or Kantonsarztämter”) will register them in the cantonal register as well as in the national Register. 

According to cantonal law, the competent cantonal authority delivering licenses to practise are also responsible for regulating osteopaths. Sanctions can involve fines, suspension from practice and removal of licence to practise.


Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is not yet a requirement of registration in each canton, however according to recent cantonal legislation CPD continuing professional development is required as professional duty, i.e. the violation of this duty may cause disciplinary measures.


In June 2016 the National Council voted in favour or a register of health professions which will include osteopathy. The proposed register will follow the model already used for medical professions. This means that not only will osteopathy be regulated at federal level, instead of by the different cantons, it will now be recognised as a health profession. It was also agreed by the Swiss National Council that the standards of training for osteopathy would be at masters' level.


For further information, contact: 

Brigitta Holzberger 
Rechtsanwältin, Nonprofit Managerin NDS FH Rechtsdienst Schweizerische Konferenz der kantonalen Gesundheitsdirektorinnen und -direktoren GDK Speichergasse 6 Postfach 684 
3000 Bern 7 
Tel: +41 (0)31 356 2020 
Fax:+41 (0)31 356 2030 

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