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Occupational Therapist

Overview of the role

Occupational therapists (OTs) support people of all ages with problems resulting from physical, mental, social, or development difficulties. OTs provide interventions that help people find ways to continue with everyday activities that are important to them. This could involve learning new ways to do things or making changes to their environment to make things easier. As patients’ needs are so varied, OTs help GPs to support patients who are frail, with complex needs, live with chronic physical or mental health conditions, manage anxiety or depression, require advice to return or remain in work and need rehabilitation so they can continue with previous occupations (activities of daily living).

Occupational therapist

Education and training required

  • A BSc degree in occupational therapy is required to work as an occupational therapist in any setting
  • HEE Primary care First Contact Practitioner (FCP) training must be completed as the minimum threshold for entry to primary care and be supported by appropriate governance and indemnity.
  • HEE primary care FCP training can begin 3-5 years post registration

Career framework

The starting salary for Occupational Therapists is AfC band 7.

Job description

NHSE/I have developed a job description and recruitment pack which is available on the Future NHS website. Access to the site requires user registration. Once registered, navigate to the role selection page to find a range of supporting resources.

For brief outline of responsibilities, skills and competencies please see below.

Activities Undertaken

  • Assess, plan, implement and evaluate treatment plans, with an aim to increase patient’s productivity and self-care.
  • Work with patients through a shared-decision making approach to plan realistic, outcomes-focused goals.
  • Undertake both verbal and non-verbal communication methods to address the needs of patients that have communication difficulties.
  • Involve multi-disciplinary team (MDT) colleagues, physiotherapists, social workers, alongside patients, families, teachers, carers, and employers in treatment planning, to aid rehabilitation.
  • Where appropriate, support the development of discharge and contingency plans with relevant professionals to arrange on-going care in residential, care home, hospital and community settings.
  • Periodically review, evaluate, and change rehabilitation programmes to rebuild skills and restore confidence.
  • Where appropriate, advise on home, school, and workplace environmental alterations, such as adjustments for wheelchair access, technological needs and ergonomic support.
  • Teach coping strategies and support adaptation to manage long term conditions for physical and mental health.
  • Advise on specialist and organisations to help with daily activities.

Skills and Competencies

  • Identifying and assessing occupational needs.
  • Analysing and prioritising occupational needs in cooperation with service user.
  • Facilitating occupational performance /engagement.
  • Evaluating, reflecting and acting on occupational outcomes.

Support available for introducing the role

From April 2020, this role will be reimbursed through the Additional Roles Reimbursement scheme at 100% of actual salary plus defined on costs, up to the maximum reimbursable amount of £53,724 over 12 months.

Further information

Occupational therapist prospects role profile

Royal College of Occupational Therapists website

NHS England / Improvement – AHPs in primary care