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The Welsh government has announced that it will be increasing the number of occupational therapy commissions across the country's healthcare system by ten per cent between 2018 and 2020.
This means that social care in Wales will be given a significant boost, with more support available for patients in a variety of settings, which could help to enhance their quality of life.
In particular, the government wants to make sure that patients are able to access occupational therapy support as close to their homes as possible - either in them, or in the local community - rather than in a hospital setting.
The Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) has welcomed the announcement, after its 2016 report, entitled 'Improving Lives, Saving Money', explored the impact of occupational therapists' involvement in patients' care.
As part of the report, it was found that just one occupational therapist based at a GP practice in south Pembrokeshire helped to make 81 per cent of patients improve their confidence and safety in undertaking everyday activities after this had been affected following a prior fall.
This therefore suggests that having more occupational therapists employed across the NHS in Wales could help to enhance an even greater number of patients' lives in the coming years.
What's more, the Welsh government's plans will create new jobs for occupational therapists throughout the country, which could lead to more training places for these healthcare professionals in the future.
Ruth Crowder, policy officer at the RCOT, commented: "It is really pleasing that the Welsh government have recognised the way occupational therapists make a significant impact in improving people's lives and saving money, and this increase in commissions will result in extra staff to deliver integrated care closer to home and support primary care."
She added that the decision to increase the number of commissions by ten per cent over the next few years is "testament to all the hard work of all our colleagues across health and social care services in Wales".
Written by Alex Franklin Stortford
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