The need for more occupational therapy has emerged as a key finding in the Care Quality Commission (CQC) State of Care report, according to the chief executive of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) Julia Scott.
Ms Scott was commenting after the publication of the report this month, which highlighted that a third of NHS acute services need to be improved.
She backed the comments made by CQC chief executive Ian Trentholm after a report on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, in which he stated that increased use of occupational therapy could help reduce delays in hospitals and improve care.
Ms Scott added: "The Royal College has robust evidence from the front line to demonstrate that intelligent use of occupational therapy reduces pressure on hospitals."
She said the college's Improving Lives, Saving Money report reveals several of these, citing benefits such as swifter discharges from hospital brought about by the lead occupational therapy can play in the transition from hospitals to care. This could also reduce re-admissions and ensure many people do not have to go to hospital in the first place.
The RCOT head concluded: "We welcome Mr Trenholm’s observations on the effectiveness of occupational therapy and urge health and social care leaders and commissioners to utilise occupational therapy services to drive forward higher standards of care."
According to the CQC report, the standard of care received depends on five factors. These are access, quality, the presence of the skilled workforce to deliver it, the capacity to meet demand and the level of funding and commissioning.
A key conclusion was that the overall, level of care has "improved slightly", but there are still too many people whose care received is "not good enough".
In the NHS acute core services category, instances of 'inadequate' services remained static compared with 2017, as did those classed as 'outstanding'.
However, in between these the number of services classed as 'good' was up and the number 'needing improvement' was correspondingly down.
Written by Alex Franklin Stortford
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