Role Description & Competencies: Occupational Therapist

Occupational Therapists work with those across the life span who   experience a wide range of clinical conditions: most commonly those who have difficulties due to physical, mental, social or developmental difficulties. 

Occupational Therapists provide assessments and interventions that are aimed at improving an individual’s physical and mental health. The occupational therapist focusses on exploring the impact that a person’s physical or mental health difficulties are having on their ability to complete the daily activities that they want or need to do. As patients’ needs are so varied, Occupational Therapists help GPs to support patients who are frail, with complex needs, live with chronic physical or mental health conditions, manage anxiety or depression, require advice to return or remain in work and need rehabilitation to continue with previous activities.

Providing a range of practical and psychosocial interventions the occupational therapist enables people to facilitate their recovery and overcome barriers that are preventing them engaging in their day to day routines and activities. This helps to increase an individual’s independence and satisfaction in all aspects of their life.

An Occupational Therapist Advanced Practitioner is an occupational therapist who may see a patient at their first point of contact or for follow up management as appropriate with the healthcare system. They will have the skills to assess, diagnose and manage a range of conditions appropriate to their knowledge and expertise and work at an Advanced Clinical Practice level as advanced practitioners (APs). This is defined as “a level of practice characterised by a high degree of autonomy and complex decision making… It includes the analysis and synthesis of complex problems across a range of settings, enabling innovative solutions to enhance people’s experience and improve outcomes”.

What are the benefits of having an Occupational Therapist in the team?

Occupational therapists training in physical and mental wellbeing across all ages means that they are the only healthcare profession trained at undergraduate level to deliver the Government’s “triple integration” agenda. “Triple Integration” involving greater integration between

  • primary and specialist care
  • physical and mental health care
  • health and social care

Occupational Therapists reduce demand on General Practitioners by resolving underlying complex problems that are the root cause of multiple contacts with the Practice, such as frailty and end of life care; dementia; poor mental health; social isolation and loneliness; sickness absence from work or unemployment. Occupational Therapy-led vocational clinics in GP surgeries can also get people back to work faster and reduce the use of GP fit notes by approximately 50%.

What can an Occupational Therapist do in General Practice?

  • Assess, plan, implement and evaluate treatment plans, with an aim to increase patients’ productivity and self-care

  • Involve MDT colleagues, physiotherapists, social workers, alongside patients, families, teachers, carers, and employers in treatment planning, to aid rehabilitation

  • Use client-centred approaches to support patients with Mental Health problems

  • Teach coping strategies and support adaptation to manage long term conditions for physical and mental health

  • advise on home, school, and workplace environmental alterations, such as adjustments for wheelchair access, technological needs, and ergonomic support

  • Support the delivery of the DES and new Service Specifications through a multi-disciplinary team approach to Enhanced Health in Care Homes, Early Cancer Diagnosis and Post-COVID19 impact

What is the maximum reimbursable amount for primary care organisations to recruit to this role?

From April 2020, this role will be reimbursed at 100% of actual salary plus defined on-costs, up to the maximum reimbursable amount of £53,724 over 12 months.

What is the recommended salary for an Occupational Therapist? 

In general practice an Occupational Therapist’s salary can be negotiated, although there is a suggested salary of AFC equivalent Band 7.

Is there any additional support available to support the recruitment of Occupational Therapists into General Practice?

Please visit the Initiatives/ Support available link at the bottom of this page to find out more.

What are Occupational Therapist Advanced Practitioners trained to do?

Specialist/ Advanced Clinical Practitioners in Occupational Therapy are trained to advance their therapeutic and reasoning skills, developing their skills in communication and leadership to bring about more evidence-based, efficient and effective services. 

Occupational Therapists are expected to demonstrate compliance with the HCPC Standards of Proficiency for Occupational Therapists.

View the HCPC Standards of Proficiency for Occupational Therapists here:



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