Wales

Key areas of activity for RCOT in Wales

The Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act (2014), which received Royal Assent on 1st May 2014, reformed social services law in Wales; making provision about improving wellbeing outcomes for people who need care and support and carers who need support; and provision about co-operation  and partnership by public authorities to improve the wellbeing of people.

The wide ranging contribution occupational therapy makes in meeting people’s care and support needs is recognised in the Act and the College will expect to see transformation of occupational therapy services to improve people’s outcomes.

The College welcomed the inclusion of occupational therapy in Section 34 of the Act. Occupational therapists are core members of the social care workforce and deliver a wide range of services that focus on enabling wellbeing, preventing dependence and disability, early intervention to maximise people’s wellbeing and ability to live life their way, reablement and promote independence and/or self-directed care. They can support carers and care staff, reduce admission to hospital, delay or help avoid dependence on care packages or admission to a care home.

Naming occupational therapy (S34) in the Act allows occupational therapists to transform their practice in social care to provide a more integrated, whole person service, enabling the local authority to meet its duty under the Act. The College looks forward to supporting this transformation.

Policies

Integrated Health Services

Together for Health is the new five year vision of health services across Wales

Alongside other policies, such as Setting the Direction and the Rural Health Plan, the intention is for all services to deliver equitable, effective and safe services as close to the person as possible. Services will be reconfigured to be considerably more community and primary care based. Local Health Boards are currently submitting delivery plans to show how they will meet the targets in Together for Health.

What is RCOT doing about Integrated Health Services?

  • RCOT is developing evidence and resources to help members demonstrate the effectiveness of interagency and joint services
  • The Wales Policy Officer is working with service managers to support members in the coming changes
  • The Wales Policy Officer is meeting officials and Assembly Members to raise the issue of the important contribution of occupational therapy in maintaining people independently at home

What can you do about Integrated Health Services?

  • Ensure you can articulate benefit of your intervention and services
  • Take every opportunity to show service users, managers and other stakeholders how occupational therapy can make a difference in keeping people out of hospital, or getting people home from hospital
  • Ensure your services are part of a 'whole occupational therapy system'. Do not allow your services to duplicate or leave gaps with others, for example across health and social care, across physical and mental health services
  • Keep up to date with developments in BJOT, OTN and on the RCOT website

Social Services and Housing

The Welsh Government will be introducing a new social services bill and a new housing bill during the next five years; these will "sweep away all existing legislation".

We will see opportunities to improve the framework for social care and housing, although we will also need to ensure that important rights for people with disabilities and vulnerable people needing care are respected. A major part of the social services bill will be the development of reablement services. The white paper Sustainable Social Services: A Framework for Action identified OTs as having a 'key role in reablement services' (p21). We will need to lobby to ensure that we continue to contribute to social care services.

What is RCOT doing about Social Services and Housing?

  • Member of the Welsh Reablement Alliance which lobbies to ensure the availability of consistent and effective reablement services around Wales
  • The Wales Policy Officer is meeting senior government officials and civil servants to promote and explain the roles of OT in reablement as well as universal social services
  • Meeting the Social Services Improvement Agency, Welsh Local Government Association and Care Council for Wales to continue to promote the vital contribution of occupational therapy in social services and discuss the need for OTs to be an integral part of the social care workforce
  • Meeting and providing briefings to Assembly Members and the Assembly Research Service on the evidence of the occupational therapy contribution
  • Working with other professional bodies and third sector agencies to monitor the drafting of the new bills to ensure basic rights are protected, for example, the right to adaptations

What can you do about Social Services and Housing?

  • Promote and articulate the benefit of occupational therapy to all service users and their families, to all colleagues and managers and to other stakeholders whenever possible
  • Demonstrate evidence based and best practice at all times to show the outcomes of effective occupational therapy
  • Monitor developments and changes in your own organisation and take any opportunity to lobby, using the resources available on the RCOT website

Mental Health Measure

The 2010 Mental Health Measure has come into effect and the Government is currently consulting on the regulations which will describe how it is implemented

The measure will give people the right to an assessment and new primary care services and to re-enter secondary mental health services within a specified period if they become unwell again. It will be vital to ensure that occupational therapists are employed in the new primary care assessments and support services.

What is RCOT doing about the Mental Health Measure?

  • Responding to the consultations on the regulations and code of practice of the mental health measure
  • Supporting the development of evidence and resources to help members deliver best practice
  • The Wales Policy Officer is ensuring that all consultations and developments are communicated to members and is working with the mental health network in Wales

What can you do about the Mental Health Measure?

  • Ensure that occupational therapy is considered when opportunities for primary mental health services develop, for example in new roles
  • Promote and articulate the benefit of occupational therapy to all service users and their families, to all colleagues and managers and to other stakeholders whenever possible
  • Demonstrate evidence based and best practice at all times to show the outcomes of effective occupational therapy
  • Monitor developments and changes in your own organisation and take any opportunity to lobby, using the resources available on the this website