United Kingdom National OT News Archive

News from the United Kingdom, 2018

New publication: Occupational therapy and complexity: defining and describing practice

Launched at RCOT Annual Conference 2018, Occupational therapy and complexity: defining and describing practice is an essential reference point for all occupational therapists and students, and provides useful guidance for all working in partnership with occupational therapy.

This new publication is a product of extensive research carried out by the research team at Queen Margaret University and led by Dr Duncan Pentland. The publication describes and defines contemporary occupational therapy, and explores, expands and illustrates the unique complexity of the profession. It is clearly based upon, but goes beyond, previous work in this area and sets this within contemporary health and social care contexts.

Occupational therapy and complexity: defining and describing practice is available at


News from the United Kingdom, 2017

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) is the trading name and a subsidiary of the British Association of Occupational Therapists

British Journal of Occupational Therapy

The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, RCOT’s international academic research journal, has its 80th anniversary next year. Celebrations in 2018 include the launch of the BJOT Article Excellence Award and an online collection of articles to recognize this important milestone. The journal will be looking for additional Editorial Board members and advertising for a new Editor-in-Chief next year. International researchers are welcome to apply. For news, please follow @BJOTeditor or contact BJOTeditorial@rcot.co.uk

Improving Lives, Saving Money campaign

The College’s public affairs campaign to promote the value of the profession continues. It focuses on the value of occupational therapy with the aim of highlighting to commissioners and providers how occupational therapists can improve lives and save money for the public purse.

Two reports have been published:

Reducing the pressure in hospitals: the value of occupational therapy, which looks at how changing where occupational therapists are positioned in acute care can decrease emergencies admissions and aid speedier discharge. This is better for patients and can also give significant savings. The second report, Living not existing: putting prevention at the heart of care for older people demonstrates the effectiveness of occupational therapy with older people can enable people to remain independent at home for longer and be able to take part in the occupations that matter to them. This report is supported by a film aimed at members of the public and stakeholders, which is available here http://cotimprovinglives.com/improving- lives-saving-money-putting-prevention-heart-care-older-people/

Please find more information at www.cotimprovinglives.com The campaign is supported by social media activity using the #ValueofOT hashtag. Visitors can sign up to the campaign newsletter to receive news and updates.

Launch of the Career Development Framework: guiding principles for occupational therapy

The Royal College of Occupational Therapy (RCOT) Career Development Framework offers a set of guiding principles for planning careers and focusing learning and development. It is for all occupational therapy professionals including support workers, students and registered professionals. It is structured around four interacting Pillars of Practice (Professional Practice; Facilitation of Learning; Leadership; and Evidence, Research and Development), each with nine Career Levels.

Available to everyone as an interactive pdf, the RCOT Career Development Framework can be located at www.rcot.co.uk/careerdevelopmentframework. It is accompanied by an implementation guide offering advice on ways to use it from some of the hundreds of people who co-created it. RCOT members also benefit from exclusive access to related tools, templates and resources.

News from the United Kingdom, November 2014

British Association and College of Occupational Therapists (BAOT/COT)

In 2013, the College of Occupational Therapists (COT) continued the cycle of review and revision of two core documents: Curriculum Guidance for pre-registration education (2009a)and Pre-registration education standards (2009b).  The new learning and development standards for pre-registration education (COT, 2014) brings together the desired outcomes for education programmes in the form of an ‘entry-level’ profile for the graduating occupational therapist, along with the standards and requirements that educational institutions must achieve in order to assure the College that the programme is fit for purpose to deliver against the profile.   These standards will also support and facilitate the development of a programme suitable to meet the requirements of the regulatory body in the UK, as well as the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.

The publication can be found here: http://www.cot.co.uk/publication/z-listing/college-occupational-therapists-learning-and-development-standards-pre-regis-0

The College of Occupational Therapists Code of Continuing Professional Development has been devised to support the occupational therapy workforce in the UK by setting out clear expectations for all BAOT members’ professional development: http://www.cot.co.uk/sites/default/files/general/public/COT-CPD-2010.pdf

News from the United Kingdom, October 2012

1. The College of Occupational Therapists in the UK (COT) has developed four electronic-learning courses for Occupational Therapy staff to develop skills to improve practice. The content of the courses are not to improve clinical skills but to help people do their jobs more effectively. People can work through them at their own pace and an online resource centre is available too. On completion of the course, a certificate is generated which counts as a formal learning activity in the terms of continuing to be able to register to work as an occupational therapist in the UK. The four courses are:
– Communicating complex ideas
– Managing from within a team
– Managing workload
– Thinking strategically

2. Conference papers are sought for major conference on work and OT. The conference at Oxford Brookes University in June 2013, is looking for papers with a historical perspective on work and OT. “Therapy and Empowerment – Coercion and Punishment” is a two-day historical symposium which will be followed by a workshop for practitioners focusing on current issues in occupational therapy.

The conference is looking to open up debate on how labour and occupation fit into the broad history of health and medicine, and what its role has been in different national and clinical contexts and in different time periods. The call for papers is particularly focused on comparative approaches, transnational exchanges, and pre-modern, contemporary and non-European developments. The organisers are also looking for ‘rigorously contextualised case studies of specific institutions and approaches’. The closing date for abstracts of 300 words is January 10 2013. The conference will be held from 26 – 28 June 2013. More details can be found on the Oxford Brookes University webpages.

3. New web-based tools have been launched to help occupational therapists evidence their work’s worth with patients. OT Eddie Duncan worked with colleague Jennifer Murray at the University of Stirling to develop the two free web-based resources. Letting work colleagues know how valuable OT is has risen up the agenda in all four UK countries. The tools mark a big step in giving professionals the tools to communicate their efficacy. The Framework for Measuring Impact is an evidence-based framework to help occupational therapists to measure and report the impact of their work.

4. Occupational Therapy education programmes in the UK are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC and formerly known as the HPC). There has been a move over recent years to consider how to involve patients and their carers in education programmes so students can learn from them and also give them a bigger say in what should be included in the curriculum. The HCPC are currently consulting on this to see if this should be made mandatory.

5. A UK OT has helped develop Paralympic classifications as people with learning disabilities welcomed back into the games.

The Paralympic Games started on 29 August and over the next ten days over 4000 athletes took part in 21 different sports, from wheelchair fencing to Boccia.

Stewart Evans, head of occupational therapy at the Percy Hedley Academy for Disability Sports, has been instrumental in the design and implementation of the classification system for Paralympic sport over recent years, including powerchair football.

Classification system

The classification system is intended to ensure fair competition. Occupational therapists are uniquely skilled to assess an athlete’s impairment and how it impacts on their functional ability on the field of play, in line with the classification rules for that sport. For example, the loss of an arm has a different functional effect in swimming than in distance running. As a result of the OT’s evaluation, each athlete is assigned a sport class.

OT has been at the heart of Paralympic sport since 1948 when the forerunner to the Games took place at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Occupational therapy was a recognised as key to the rehabilitation of World War II soldiers at Stoke Mandeville where patients were encouraged to take part in activities such as wheelchair basketball and archery.

OT was used to enable and encourage participation in sport to maximise function, ‘restore the activity of the mind’ and develop self confidence. It vastly improved the outlook and recovery of patients with amputations and paralysis due to spinal injuries.

News from the United Kingdom, March 2012

–          A controversial new Parliamentary Health and Social Care Bill has been passed by the UK Parliament this week. The College of Occupational Therapist’s Chief Executive Julia Scott, and Gregory Stafford, Public Affairs and Government Relations Manager met with Simon Burns MP, Minister of State for Health in a one to one session on the Health and Social Care Bill on 15 March. The College of Occupational Therapists is one of the few health organisations to secure a meeting with a senior Government Minister on the Bill. This comes as a direct result of the College’s letters to the health minister and the Prime Minister appealing for greater occupational therapy and Allied Health Professions involvement in the new processes within the national health service. The meeting was a real success for the College and will go a long way to keep occupational therapy in the minds of key decision makers. The Minister gave a number of reassurances, which he promised would be followed up in writing.

–          Preparations are underway for College of Occupational Therapists Annual conference to be held 12-14 June 2012 at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), Glasgow, Scotland. There will be a very wide selection of presentations, both spoken and poster. This year the conference will be combined with Annual Conference for the Mental Health Care Specialist Section. http://cotannualconference.org.uk/conference-content

–          The ‘International Occupational Therapy Session will be looking at the issues of  working overseas and the policy work that is taking place in relation to occupational therapy internationally. Samantha Shann, World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) Vice President Finance and a senior lecturer at Northumbria University, will help explain how the WHO / World Bank global report on disability influences health and social care delivery both here in the UK and abroad. Colleagues with considerable experience of working and teaching overseas will be sharing their practical experiences both of the work they have been involved with and how it has influenced their practice on returning to work in the UK.

–          The UK Government has announced a revised National Health Service Constitution for England, with implications for staff who observe sub-standard or abusive practice and need to bring this to the attention of others. This is called ‘whistle-blowing’.

–          The College of Occupational Therapists has launched a new online edition of the Professional Standards for Occupational Therapy Practice (2011).The Standards set out core guidance for best practice in Occupational Therapy and define a level of excellence for evaluating and auditing Occupational Therapy provision. http://www.cot.co.uk/standards-ethics/professional-standards-occupational-therapy-practice

News from the United Kingdom, September, 2011

World Report on Disability – World Federation of OT President ‘s summery report

Among highlights of this years’ Annual conference, was Prof Sharon Brintnell (the president of WFOT) who gave a paper on the broad implications of the recently published World Report on Disability –http://www.wfot.org/office_files/World%20Report%20on%20Disability%202011.pdf

‘pairing a comprehensive and global picture of the disability experience and human rights as a fundamental part of everyday life for people with disabilities globally’ She stated that ‘ we need to embed human rights in the OT curricula as a basis to evaluate every aspect of practice’.

Independent living – A Human Rights Issue

An example of just this was covered in this months’ OT news. The UK Joint committee of Human Rights, stated that the rights of disabled people to independent living is under threat with the increasing cuts to public spending such as to Disability Facilities Grants which enable the adaptation to housing.

Collaboration between the Department for Work and Pensions and the College of Occupational Therapy –

The College of Occupational Therapy has been working closely with Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work, on the Department for Work and Pensions Sickness Absence Review, which she is carrying out on behalf of the Government. She is very keen to have a submission from the COT on the evidence of the O.T contribution.

The review, which will report later this year, will:

■explore how the current sickness absence system could be changed to help people stay in work, reduce and share costs for the taxpayer and businesses and contribute to economic growth;

■examine whether the balance of these costs are appropriately shared between individuals, employers and the State;

This is a real opportunity to pitch Occupational therapists as an essential part of the workforce in occupational health and vocational rehabilitation, in this instance in the management of sickness absence, which is an area of notable government concern given the cost implications. She went on to argue that OTs were ideally placed to work more closely with GPs in this area of ‘fitness to work ‘ and in the prevention and management of long term sickness. She noted that this is in line with the current government’s emphasis on public health.

Again in working together with other statutory services, in this case Education,

UK paediatric occupational therapists are frequently involved in writing part of the statement that sets out what requirements children with special needs have. The purpose of the special educational needs/additional support needs process is to enable a child to make use of and benefit from education. This is called the Special Educational Needs (SEN) or Additional Support Needs (ASN) statement/coordinated support plan. The College of Occupational Therapists has produced a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document to assist occupational therapists who may be required to provide professional advice for this.

The 2011 Casson Memorial Lecture

This was given by Prof Annie Turner, who  talked of a profession passing through late adolescence and argued for practitioners to be more confident in their identity as OTs. She challenged OTs to critical debate on the future direction of the profession.

Others at the conference were pressing for a narrowing of the gap between academic and routine health care practice. One suggestion made was to have OT ‘diffusion fellows’ whose role it would be to encourage research findings into practice.

In support of this, Prof Mary Law from McMaster University, referred to the flourishing research evidence base of the last two decades. She also persuasively argued that

‘Participation in Occupation is a basic Human Right’ OT News August 2011

Concurring with the World Disability Report, ‘She reiterated that OTs open doors to participation’, and emphasized that ‘Occupation can be the means to intervention but that participation in occupation should be the cornerstone of the outcomes. She stressed however that such outcomes need to be measurable, if they are to be of value to our clients and enable Occupational Therapy to be justifiably defined as a profession.

News from the United Kingdom, February 2011

College launches manifesto for devolved administration elections

The College of Occupational Therapists(COT) has launched its manifesto for the devolved administration elections on 5 May 2011. Members in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have the opportunity to cast their vote for their respective members of parliament and COT hopes that they will use this manifesto to highlight key issues for occupational therapy to candidates.

Members should feel free to download the manifesto and send or e-mail to their local candidates asking them to support the key requests set out in the manifesto. COT would welcome any feedback that members receive from those candidates.

COT signs pledge to deliver new mental health strategy

The College of Occupational Therapists (COT) has joined forces with more than 20 organisations who have pledged to deliver the objectives laid out in the UK’s mental health strategy.  ‘No health without mental health’ is the first ‘Cross-Government mental health strategy’ which seeks to give mental health the same importance as physical health. Central to these plans is an additional investment of around £400 million to improve access to modern, evidence-based psychological therapies over the next four years.

COT contributed to a series of meetings with the Department of Health, professional associations, service users and carer groups to help shape the strategy.  The Government’s priorities are summarised in six main objectives, ensuring that by 2014:

  • more people will have good mental health;
  • more people with mental health problems will recover;
  • more people with mental health problems will have good physical health;
  • more people with mental health problems will have a positive experience of care and support;
  • fewer people will suffer avoidable harm; and
  • fewer people will experience stigma and discrimination.

“Improving mental health is a key priority for the College and we’re fully committed to putting this new strategy into practice” said Julia Scott, Chief Executive of the College of Occupational Therapists. ’No health without mental health’ places a new emphasis on early intervention and prevention which is at the heart of Occupational Therapy.  It also recognises that mental health doesn’t exist in a vacuum, that it’s influenced by a whole range of other factors from physical function to social support networks.  Occupational Therapy (OT) looks at the person as a whole and takes a personalised approach to recovery; helping patients to get back to work, maintaining social and personal identity, and increasing participation in all areas of life.   We will continue to work hard to keep OT at the forefront of delivering this new strategy for improving mental health in England.”

GP consortia must work in partnership with occupational therapists

The College of Occupational Therapists has expressed its concerns over the National Health Service (NHS) reforms outlined in the Health and Social Care bill published in January 2011.

‘The scale and speed of change continues to be alarming,’ said Peggy Frost, Head of Professional Practice. ‘In the midst of major restructure we must ensure that patients continue to receive the care they need. For many people occupational therapy is a lifeline, building their confidence, independence and ability to carry out tasks we all take for granted. This in turn avoids unnecessary visits to hospital and reduces the need for longer term care, which has huge financial significance for the NHS.

‘GP Consortia must work together with Occupational Therapists and other Allied Health Professions to commission services that are needed by the local community. We support raising standards of healthcare across the NHS but access to Occupational Therapy must be equitable and widespread. The government has recognised that Occupational Therapy is ‘vital to rehabilitation’ investing a further £162m in reablement services. Now we must make sure that Occupational Therapy stays firmly on the agenda.’

BAOT calls on OTs to promote the profession at local and national level

The Annual Review 2010 from the British Association and College of Occupational Therapists highlights the continued need to promote the profession, particularly given the proposed changes to commissioning in England.

2010 was an active year for the professional body and 2011 will be even busier for all occupational therapy staff. The College encourages all members to read the Annual Review 2010 and identify how occupational therapists can help promote the profession in 2011.

The College has developed a range of videos aimed at the public to enable BAOT members to explain the unique benefits of occupational therapy and to encourage OT referrals. New films to be released later in 2011 will target service commissioners.

Other important activities from 2010 include the continued investment in Continuing Professional Development tools, such as the Work Matters e-learning resource, and the continued work being done by the UK Occupational Therapy Research Foundation to further establish the cost benefit and evidence base for the profession. These are just two of many strands of activity for BAOT members.

News from the United Kingdom, August 2010


Following the general election in May 2010, a new coalition government was formed by the conservative and liberal democrat parties. The new secretary of state for health presented a white paper ‘Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS’ to the Westminster Parliament in July 2010http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Healthcare/LiberatingtheNHS/index.htm

It certainly offers opportunities for occupational therapy staff and services within the new frameworks, but there will undoubtedly be some job losses, at least in the short term, as major restructuring takes place over the next two years. The BAOT is fully involved and proactive in responding to the new health and social care policy changes and to ensuring it is included in all the appropriate consultation arenas to optimise the contribution of the profession for users of services.


The Code has been fully revised by the organisation and will be available from 1 September 2010. A free copy will be distributed to all BAOT members in September and is available for download at www.baot.org.uk This Code of ethics and professional conduct describes a set of professional behaviours and values that the BAOT expects its members to abide by, and believes all occupational therapy personnel in the UK should follow.

Reviewed every five years, the Code is an essential, practical and user-friendly guide for all members of the profession and for members of the public, employers and others who need to be aware of the Code, its requirements and the expectations of the professional body in terms of ethical behaviour and professional conduct.


Staff and members are looking forward to moving back into their refurbished headquarters building by the end of the year. Visit www.baot.org.uk for regular updates.


This year, the organisation’s annual conference will again be held in Brighton, on the south coast of the UK. See www.cot.org.uk/annualconferences for abstract submission details (close 20 September 2010) and further information. A provisional programme will be available in the new year.


On 1 July 2010, a number of BAOT members and staff were honoured to be invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace in honour of HRH The Princess Royal, Patron of the College of Occupational Therapists, 60th Birthday.

News from the United Kingdom, Spring 2010


HINARI is one of three key programmes now known as Research4Life. In these three programmes, over 150 publishers are providing access to more than 7,000 journals to almost 7,000 institutions in 108 countries within the developing world. In order for institutions to be eligible to participate in HINARI, they must be located in one of the HINARI-eligible countries, and be categorized by the World Health Organisation (WHO) into one of the eligible institution types, Band 1 (free) and Band 2 (deeply discounted) access groups. WHO registers prospective participating institutions after verifying their eligibility. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) and its publisher the College of Occupational Therapists (COT) are proud that BJOT is now be accessible via the scheme.