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Experts call for occupational therapy to be included in NHS reform plans

Experts call for occupational therapy to be included in NHS reform plans

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists has called for occupational therapy to be included in STP plans in an effort to reduce the burden on social care
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The Royal College of Occupational Therapists has called for occupational therapy to be included in STP plans in an effort to reduce the burden on social care.

In a new report, the college recommends including occupational therapists in multidisciplinary teams as part of NHS England’s new care models, which each STP is expected to include.

The report states that including occupational therapists in integrated primary care teams ‘will allow them to address health and social care needs within people’s homes’.

It adds that occupational therapists ‘have traditionally punched above their weight’ by dealing with between 35% and 45% of adult social care referrals ‘and yet only making up 2% of the workforce’.

The royal college said that integrating occupational therapy with primary care will end the ‘inequality of access’ to the service.

It adds that by having more occupational therapists employed within primary care can ‘delay, reduce or prevent’ the need for expensive social care and support.

Julia Scot, CEO of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, said the therapists are ‘perfectly placed to address’ the problems in social care.

She said: ‘Because we know gaps in social care impact the NHS most we think local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups or their equivalents in each nation of the UK should be given responsibility for ensuring that change happens on the ground.’

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