Decision details

Impact of recruitment of additional Occupational Therapists

Decision Maker: Health Scrutiny Committee

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No


Update on the recruitment of additional OTs and impact on waiting times


The Chair welcomed Sue Lott, Head of Social Care Service, Adult Social Care and Val Knight, County Occupational Therapy Manager, who presented a report detailing the development of the Occupational Therapy Service within Adult Social Care at Lancashire County Council.


It was noted that significant improvements had been made in timeliness of assessments and the increase in Disabled Facilities Grants recommendations since 2014, and that all Occupational Therapy posts had been recruited to.


Members requested clarification on a number of issues as detailed below:


·  The report stated that eight districts were now using discretionary grants, and concern was raised regarding the other four and the potential for inequity of provision across Lancashire. It was explained that this was due to historical carry forward of funding, which was higher in some districts than in others.


It was requested that a further report on the differing allocations of Disabled Facilities Grants to each district council and the challenges and opportunities this offered in terms of discretionary grants and potential inequity for the people of Lancashire be presented to a future meeting.


·  It was clarified that the target date to achieve 100% of people referred for an Occupational Therapy assessment within 28 days was April 2020.


·  It was commented that Occupational Therapists were trusted intermediaries in people's homes and therefore could have a wider responsibility for service users' welfare; for example, around gas and fire safety. In response to a question around training it was clarified that the Occupational Therapists were trained to have a preventative mindset and would refer issues to other organisations such as home improvement agencies or the Fire Service where appropriate. Also, Telecare technicians would be receiving training to be able to identify and action low level issues.


·  Responding to a question about hospital discharge arrangements, it was clarified that the acute social work team identified patients who would likely need major or urgent adaptations to allow them to return home, and worked with the Occupational Therapists to facilitate the adaptations, although it was not always possible to complete this before the patient returned home. However, hospital Occupational Therapists were now equipped to take some people home and would undertake any immediate small adaptations to ensure the patient was safe, for example, by moving furniture.


·  In response to a question around the return and recycling of equipment, it was clarified that any equipment loaned by MedEquip would be collected by that company once the user no longer needed it, and this could range from a few days to a few weeks. It was commented that decontaminating and recycling equipment was expensive, and could cost more than double the price of new equipment. There was no specific service in place to collect and recycle equipment, but letters were sent to service users advising them that many charity shops would accept second hand equipment.


Resolved: That:


  i.  The report be noted.


  ii.  The improvements seen in the performance of the Lancashire County Council Occupational Therapy Service be welcomed.


  iii.  A further report on the differing allocations of Disabled Facilities Grants to district councils in Lancashire with a focus on discretionary grants be presented to a future meeting.

Report author: Sue Lott

Date of decision: 05/11/2019

Decided at meeting: 05/11/2019 - Health Scrutiny Committee

Accompanying Documents: