What can Occupational Therapists (OTs) do in primary care?
OTs are one of five First Contact Practitioner (FCP) roles in Primary Care under the Additional Roles Reimbursement scheme (ARRs). For more generic and detailed info on all FCP and Advanced practitioner (AP) roles please see the Advanced practice section (coming online soon).
Occupational Therapists help individuals to live their best life at home, work and anywhere else which holds importance. There is great meaning behind individuals being able to do the things they need, would like and have to do.
Occupational Therapists see beyond diagnoses and limitations, and help individuals work towards achieving their hopes and aspirations. They aim to be practical, realistic and personal to each individual, helping to achieve the’ breakthroughs’ which are needed to gain meaning and purpose to everyday life.
Within Primary Care, Occupational Therapists have three ‘superpowers’ and work with: Frail, older adults; individuals experiencing mental health problems; and working age adults experiencing employment difficulties. Below are some examples of the work which OT’s may support:
- Use of frailty indexes to identify individuals needing a proactive approach.
- Rapid crisis response to prevent hospital admission or to speed discharge.
- Assessment and interventions to ensure individuals can manage independently at home, including support for carers.
- Short term rehabilitation interventions and referral on to specialist services if indicated.
- Use of digital and assistive technology to ensure safety at home.
Individuals experiencing mental health problems
- Risk assessment for acute distress.
- Personalised care plans for self-management.
- Individual discussions to identify personal goals and motivation.
- Social prescribing, as well as signposting or referral onto recovery support and services.
Working age adults experiencing employment difficulties
- Vocational rehabilitation – OT’s identify practical and purposeful interventions to promote recovery and overcome barriers for participation in work.
- Use of Allied Health Professions (AHP) Work report, in place of GP fit note for sick pay.
- Personalised advice to support workplace modifications.
A short video on OT ‘superpowers’ below:
A helpful webinar produced by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists is below:
Patient impact example of an OT in Primary Care can be found below:
Feedback from a GP on having OTs in Primary Care:
Training and Supervision
OTs will hold a BSc in Occupational Therapy and hold registration with the Health and Care professions (HCPC).
As mentioned above, OTs within Primary Care are banded at level 7 as FCPs. To become an FCP, professionals will need a minimum of 5 years postgraduate experience. Workforce Transformation and Education (HEE) have developed ‘roadmaps’ to outline the required training and experience needed to progress to an FCP level, and onwards to advanced practice, as required/appropriate.
The roadmap for OTs can be found on the right hand side of this page.
WT&E Roadmap FAQs can be a useful source of information: Roadmap FAQs | Workforce Transformation and Education (hee.nhs.uk).
For further information on FCPs please click here (link coming soon).
A roadmap supervisor will be needed to support FCP OTs in their training and ongoing development. Eligibility for roadmap supervisors includes:
• GP Trainers/Educational Supervisors (ES’s do not need to do the 2 day course but have an optional top up session available on e-learning for health- Top up Training Video for GP Educational Supervisors – elearning for healthcare (e-lfh.org.uk))
• Clinicians who have a post registration Master’s degree (Pre registration Masters degrees DO NOT qualify)
• Full MACP member
• First Contact Practitioners who are recognised by the WT&E Centre
• Advanced Practitioners who are recognised by the WT&E Centre
The Gloucestershire Primary Care Training hub has an FCP/AP lead and 2 Primary Care supervision fellows who are available to support with roadmap and supervision queries. Please contact PCWC inbox on email@example.com with your query and this can be forwarded onto the right person. Funding has been given to each PCN to support backfill for attendance of GPs who are not already GP trainers, to attend the 2-day roadmap supervisor course.
An example job description can be found on the right of the page.
Further resourcesThe Royal College of OTs are currently offering drop in sessions for GPs, CDs, BMs, practice nurses and education leads to find out more about OTs in Primary Care. Details below:
Once a month 12.30-1pm.
• 21 September
• 19 October
• 16 November
• 13 December
To join this event please email firstname.lastname@example.org