Royal College Of Occupational Therapists Highlight
Occupational therapists showcase pioneering OTVoc Clinics
Senior health leaders and politicians in England and Wales have visited two occupational therapy led vocational clinics (OTVoc Clinics) where occupational therapists are a key part of a pioneering new approach designed to help people with mental health and musculoskeletal problems stay in employment.
The OTVoc Clinics are an occupational therapist led trial and were set up after the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) was awarded funding from the Challenge Fund (Joint Work and Health Unit).
Based in GP surgeries, the clinics see occupational therapists use the Allied Health Professions Health and Work Report to find personalised solutions to help people remain in work.
The visits were a chance for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Department of Health and Social care (DH&SC) and politicians to see first-hand how the clinics work. In Southampton, Deputy Director, Joint Work & Health Unit (DWP & DH&SC), Richard Cienciala and RCOT Professional Adviser Genevieve Smyth met both staff and service users involved.
RCOT Professional Adviser Genevieve Smyth said:
“This is a fantastic initiative that will save people’s lives. Time and time again studies show that being in employment is one of the most important determinants of life expectancy and quality of life. It is like a vaccine that keeps us mentally and physically well. Sadly, people who struggle with their mental health and MSK problems are more likely to fall out of work. This pilot aims to change this.
“The Government has recognised that occupational therapists are a vital part of the solution. At GP surgeries they work with people to provide personalised, tailored advice about health and work to find a solution to help them stay in employment. This approach empowers people to be the architects of their own lives rather than feeling that the only options are the GP fit note or leaving the workplace.”
Jackie Ardley, Chief Nurse at Solent NHS Trust said:
“Solent is delighted to be leading on this partnership initiative. Our mission is to keep people safe and well, achieving the highest standard of living possible. This project speaks to our values as a community and mental health trust, whereby looking after physical and mental health empowers patients to achieve their goals.“