Royal College of Occupational Therapists welcomes NHS Long-Term Plan

RCOT says the plan's focus places occupational therapy in "a key role" to help deliver the vision for the NHS

Published on 21st January 2019

The NHS Long-Term Plan has been "warmly received" by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists as "a sound roadmap for the future of health care in England".

RCOT said the plan's focus on supporting people at home, prevention, greater integration and use of primary care, and achieving parity of esteem for mental health places occupational therapy in "a key role" to help deliver the plan’s vision for the NHS.

RCOT chief executive Julia Scott said: "Primary care, community health, prevention, technology and areas such as mental health and learning disabilities are areas where occupational therapists can make a real difference to people’s lives."

"The plan therefore sits comfortably with the Royal College’s direction of travel for the occupational therapy profession. We are confident that our members can develop, lead and deliver cost-effective services to achieve it," she added.

The NHS long term plan pledges to save almost half a million more lives with practical action on major killer conditions and investment in world class, cutting edge treatments including genomic tests for every child with cancer.

The plan aims to make the NHS fit for the future using the latest technology, such as digital GP consultations for all those who want them, coupled with early detection and a renewed focus on prevention to stop an estimated 85,000 premature deaths each year.

Measures outlined will help prevent 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases while more than three million people will benefit from new and improved stroke, respiratory and cardiac services over the next decade.

There is also a new guarantee that investment in primary, community and mental health care will grow faster than the growing overall NHS budget. This will fund a £4.5 billion new service model for the 21st century across England, where health bodies come together to provide better, joined up care in partnership with local government.

"The commitment to tackle major physical conditions comes alongside the biggest ever investment in mental health services rising to at least £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24. Building on significant expansion in recent years, the long term plan will see around two million more people who suffer anxiety, depression or other problems receive help over the next decade including new dads as well as mums, and 24 hour access to crisis care via NHS 111," said the plan.

The NHS long term plan will also:

- Open a digital ‘front door’ to the health service, allowing patients to be able to access health care at the touch of a button

 - Provide genetic testing for a quarter of people with dangerously high inherited cholesterol, reaching around 30,000 people

 -  Give mental health help to 345,000 more children and young people through the expansion of community based services, including in schools

  - Use cutting edge scans and technology, including the potential use of artificial intelligence, to help provide the best stroke care in Europe with over 100,000 more people each year accessing new, better services

- Invest in earlier detection and better treatment of respiratory conditions to prevent 80,000 hospital admissions and smart inhalers will be piloted so patients can easily monitor their condition, regardless of where they are

 - Ensure every hospital with a major A&E department has ‘same day emergency care’ in place so that patients can be treated and discharged with the right package of support, without needing an overnight stay.

Julia Scott concluded: "As the only healthcare profession trained at undergraduate level to deliver the Government’s “triple integration” agenda, we call on commissioners, leaders and managers to work with us to develop an innovative, new model of healthcare for the 21st Century – because, we are ready, willing and able to deliver it.”

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