Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists treat injured, ill, or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help these patients develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working. The Royal College of Occupational Therapy adopted the key principle of best fit support, getting the right support, from the right person, at the right time, to support people to manage their health and social care needs.


The ‘occupational therapy offer’ on areas where they could have most impact and there is a high demand could include self and family referral to a stratified model of triage and delivery. Models of delivery would target:

  • Frail, older people: vulnerable people who do not require secondary services, but are at high risk of needing increased levels of support in the future (including possible hospital inpatient admission) if a proactive approach is not taken
  • Those who are off work: seeking fit notes or return to work support
  • Adults with mental health needs: people that need more than Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), but not requiring secondary care or a psychiatrist.

Career pathway

To practise as an occupational therapist, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). To register with the HCPC, you first need to successfully complete approved degree-level training in occupational therapy.

You can train through an approved full-time or part-time pre-registration university course in occupational therapy or a degree apprenticeship in occupational therapy.

For the full-time route this is usually a BSc (Hons). Courses take three or four years.

There are also part-time/in-service courses if you are working in a relevant senior occupational therapy support role and your employer is willing to support you.

Courses differ but all involve a lot of practical work with patients.

Further information

Is there any recruitment funding available to Primary Care Networks?

This is a role that is included in the Additional Roles Recruitment Scheme from April 2020. Primary Care Networks may therefore be able to access funding via the CCG to cover salary and on-costs. You can find out more about the scheme and workforce planning by contacting the GP Forward View Leads who work with the CCG’s Primary Care Team and by referring to the information in the links below:

Funding for Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Investment in CPD for OTs in primary care for 2020 – 2023 was initially announced in the NHS Long Term Plan. The funding is held by the Training Hub on your behalf.

 An amount of money roughly equivalent to £1000 per eligible staff member working in each practice (based on the 2019 staffing levels) has been allocated to be spent over that period on CPD requirements. The funding cannot be used for backfill or administrative costs.

Ideally you will already have identified your CPD needs through an annual appraisal process with your line manager. We have asked practices to give the Training Hub an idea of your CPD needs so we can ensure that suitable training is commissioned/available to meet your needs and also so we can use the CPD funding appropriately and fairly.

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