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Personalised care “at the heart of occupational therapy practice”

Tuesday 30th April 2019
James Sanderson, director of personalised care at NHS England, has stated the NHS wants to bring together personalised care approaches into something more cohesive.
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Personalised care has become more of a focus for the NHS over the last few years, with occupational therapy being one of the main areas affected. After recognising the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is unable to meet the needs of the UK population, the health service now aims to bring personalised care to 2.5 million people by 2024.

James Sanderson, director of personalised care at NHS England, recognises this is ambitious but believes it is both necessary and achievable. He spoke recently to the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT), and revealed the health service wants to increase the number of people accessing personalised care even further, to five million people by 2029.

The main barrier in the way of this, according to Mr Sanderson, is the many different approaches to person-centered care that have been implemented in the recent past. While these all have their strengths, the downside is they are fairly fragmented and isolated from each other.

In order to proceed, Mr Sanderson believes these different disciplines need to come together into a “much more cohesive approach”. This will enable occupational therapists to have access to a much more structured way to bring personalised care to more patients as time goes on.

However, to achieve this, Mr Sanderson believes it will be necessary to enact a cultural change across the NHS. However, this is an area in which occupational therapists can be leaders. “To land personalised care in the system, we do need to encourage a culture change,” he explained. 

“That's where occupational therapists working in multidisciplinary teams within primary care can bring about a huge opportunity to open those conversations and help colleagues understand why the approach to putting people at the centre of their care and support and adapting services to meet their individual needs, and taking an asset-based approach to healthcare, is something they can bring to that discussion at a local level.”

Written by Alex Franklin Stortford

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