The last month has been exceptionally busy, both with the political upheaval and as we make the final preparations to launch our latest ‘Improving Lives, Saving Money report: ‘Living Not Existing: Putting prevention at the heart of care for older people’. It will be published on 13th July. It will highlight the how deploying occupational therapy can deliver social care services which are not only better quality and more person-centred but which are cheaper in the long term.
If you haven’t already, sign up to our thunderclap campaign to get the message out on social media about how occupational therapy can help people to live, not just exist. The publication of the reports (one for each nation of the UK) will coincide with the release of a powerful film showing the stark reality of being dependent on social care for some vulnerable and older people. Do check back here to download the reports and watch the film on 13th July.
It has, of course, also been a busy month in the political world. The unexpected general election result sent shockwaves through Parliament and many of its ramifications for the country are still unknown. We saw two health ministers, David Mowat and Nicola Blackwood, lose their seats. But, with change comes opportunity and so we congratulate both Steve Brine MP and Jackie Doyle-Price MP on their appointments as Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State at the Department of Health, where they join Phillip Dunne MP, Lord O’Shaughnessy MP and Jeremy Hunt MP. We look forward to working with them to ensure we get the most out of occupational therapists’ skillsets to improve lives and save money in the health and social care system.
Whilst the political world has been adapting to the new landscape in the wake of the general election, the College’s officers have continued to take their message across the country promoting the vital role of occupational therapists. Karin Bishop, Assistant Director – Professional Practice, spoke at a Public Policy Exchange Event on ‘Sustaining and Transforming A&E at a Time of Unprecedented Demand’ on 22nd June alongside Chris Moulton, Chair of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. We welcome Chris’ call that every NHS Trust should have an occupational therapists working within their team, and will be working the Royal College of Emergency Medicine to deliver progress towards this aim.
Meanwhile, our report on ‘Reducing the pressure on hospitals’ is making a real impact and we are seeing more collaboration taking place between occupational therapists and ambulance services. Karin Orman, the Royal College’s Professional Practice Manager, has been working to support the inclusion of occupational therapists in ambulance teams across the country as highlighted as an example of best practice. These services are now being rolled in in areas across the country, including in the North East Rehabilitation Service, the Scottish Ambulance Service, Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust and the Royal Berkshire NHS Trust. We are now looking to extend this model into Northern Ireland, South Gloucestershire and St Helens. This is a great example of how the Royal College have successfully publicised best practice in the deployment of occupational therapists and helped spread and deliver real improvement on the ground.