Occupational Therapist

Occupational Therapist

Physician associates

Use their generalist medical education to work with GPs, physicians, and surgeons


Have been in the UK for over ten years, with the knowledge, skills, and attitude to deliver supervised holistic care in general practice


The Department of Health predicts there will be 1,000 qualified PAs across the country by the end of 2020

previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow

Why an Occupational Therapist?

What can an Occupational Therapist do?

What is the scope of their practice?

What academic qualifications does an OT have?

Any example Job Description?

Any Case Studies?

Any Sample Interview questions?

What should practice induction include?

HEE Roadmap for Occupational Therapy

What clinical supervision do I need to provide?

What ongoing support can I provide?

Network Contract DES

Finance and DES-supported roles

Further Guidance


Why an Occupational Therapist?

Occupational Therapists (OTs)

The role for occupational therapists in primary care and GP surgeries is growing. Government policies are expanding teams in primary care across the UK to reduce the pressure on GPs and improve patient care. Please watch the video below for further details:

Occupational Therapists in Primary Care

Produced by RCOT, this video expands on the roles of OTs in Primary Care

What can an Occupational Therapist do?

AfC 7

Max reimbursable amount over 12 months (with on cost) – £53,724

Occupational therapists (OTs) support people of all ages with problems resulting from physical, mental, social, or development difficulties. OTs provide interventions that help people find ways to continue with everyday activities that are important to them. This could involve learning new ways to do things or making changes to their environment to make things easier. As patients’ needs are so varied, OTs 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 so they can continue with previous occupations (activities of daily living).

For a full outline of role description please see below:

What is their scope of practice?

Occupational therapists in primary care are experts in the management of complex patient’s, groups and communities’ occupational participation needs for example in home and health management, education, work, social participation, and leisure activities.

Occupational therapists can work as First Contact Practitioners, providing personalised, biopsychosocial interventions from initial clinical assessment, intervention, and evaluation for agreed patient groups. They work collaboratively with the Primary care multi-disciplinary team (MDT) across pathways and systems, including digital delivery, to meet the needs of patients and carers, and provide occupational therapy leadership across clinical practice, education, and research.

Alongside other AHPs in primary care, three key occupational therapy “superpowers” have emerged while new pilots’ trial, for example, social care and paediatric occupational therapists in primary care.

Frail older adults

  • Use of frailty indexes to identify people needing a proactive approach
  • Rapid crisis response to prevent hospital admission or to speed discharge.
  • Assessment and interventions to ensure people can cope at home, including support for carers.
  • Short term rehabilitation interventions and referral on to specialist services if indicated
  • Use of digital and assistive technology to ensure safety at home.

People with mental health problems

  • Risk assessment for acute distress,
  • Personalised care plans for self-management,
  • Patient activation to achieve personal goals,
  • Social prescribing, and signposting or referral onto recovery support and services.

Working age adults with employment difficulties

  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Use of AHP Health and Work report in place of GP fit note for sick pay
  • Tailored, specific advice about workplace modifications.

What academic qualifications does an OT have?

To practice as an Occupational Therapist you will need to have attained the following:

  • BSc or pre reg MSc in Occupational Therapy under an approved training programme
  • Registered member of Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Further information can be found on the below link to careers website:

What Skills & Characteristics?

Occupational Therapists need to have:

    • well-developed oral and verbal communication skills in order to develop a therapeutic relationship with your patients
    • interpersonal skills to connect with others and develop rapport with your patients
    • compassion and empathy
    • the ability to explain, encourage and build confidence
    • observation skills
    • the ability to think outside the box and work under pressure
    • decision-making skills and the ability to organise and plan your workload
    • a flexible approach to work
    • assessment and report writing skills
    • problem-solving skills
    • good creative and practical skills
    • teamworking skills, as you’ll often liaise with other professionals such as doctors and social workers
    • enthusiasm, sensitivity and patience to deal with a range of needs
    • computer literacy.

This profile is provided from the following source:

Skills Occupational therapist Link

Any example Job Description?

Please find an example job description for Occupational Therapist below

Any Case Studies?

Fran Hill, one of the occupational therapists involved in the trial explains more:

“Myself and two occupational therapy colleagues are based across three sites of a GP  practice in Southampton where we run Occupational Therapy Led Vocational Clinics to help people with mental health and/or musculoskeletal problems remain in work. We are trialling the use of the Allied Health Professions Advisory Fitness for Work Report (AHP Fit Note).

“We offer the service in different ways either by telephone, face to face or using online platforms using a stepped care model. People receive initial brief self-management support, followed by individualised work capacity advice. By the final contacts, if required, we suggest adjustments that could be made to their working environment; we might liaise with their employer; and provide rehabilitation. All three steps help to join services by providing an AHP Fit Note that helps to facilitate the relationship between the individual and their GP and employer.

“We are really excited to be part of the trial as using a holistic, recovery-focussed vocational model is what occupational therapists are particularly skilled at. Assessing the person, the demands of the job and the working environment is what occupational therapists are trained to do.”

Occupational therapists are able to use their dual training to reduce the burden on primary care, working with individuals and their employers to enable people to return to work. The GP practice originally involved in the pilot in Solent NHS Trust had previously been part of an innovative occupational therapy emerging placements pilot run by Juliet Truman, an occupational therapy lecturer at the time from Southampton University, the practice had been very impressed by the wide skill base demonstrated by an occupational therapy student on placement at the surgery via Southampton University and the local HEE training hub. This made them a natural choice when deciding where to trial the new vocational clinics which will conclude in 2020.”

The pilot is being fully evaluated throughout the trial to assess the extent to which the initiative is contributing to improving outcomes, people’s experience; supporting  the cost-effective delivery of care; and developing a rewarding and fulfilling job role for occupational therapists. The learning and data from the work will be used to support the extension of the primary care work alongside work to develop the extension of the ‘FIT Note’ from 2020.

OT Case Study Link

Any Sample Interview Questions?

Some sample job interview questions you will want to ask an Occupational Therapist could include the following:


  1. What motivates you as an Occupational Therapist?
  2. Tell me about a time when you felt most proud as an Occupational Therapist…
  3. Describe two key skills required by an Occupational Therapist?
  4. What’s the worst thing about being an occupational therapist?
  5. How would you deal with a patient who is being confrontational or aggressive?
  6. How do you stay informed about new techniques and technology?
  7. What’s the role of an occupational therapist in a multi-disciplinary team?

For the weblink source please see below:

What should Practice Induction include?


What should Clinical Supervision do I need to provide?

Clinical supervision within the context of new/emerging roles or in a new clinical setting, involves regular supervision within practice, and includes, particularly in primary care, a debrief (usually daily) to ensure patient and practitioner safety. This short type of daily debrief is common for GPs too. It should provide good-quality feedback to help with safely managing practitioner and patient uncertainty. Clinical supervision should help to build
confident capability, clinical reasoning, and critical thinking. It also includes WorkplaceBased Assessment (WPBA) to assess the application of knowledge, skills, and behaviours
in Primary Care. The WPBA allows for a portfolio of triangulated evidence against the appropriate framework. Clinical supervision is mainly formative but there may be a
summative element (see appendix 12.1)


For further information please see link below Page 32 of the HEE FCP document:

What ongoing support can I provide?

More information on how Training Hubs can provide support your PCN can be found on the HEE website (see below):

HEE Roadmap for Occupational Therapy

HEE Roadmap for Occupational Therapy:

Health Education England (HEE) in conjunction with RCOT and clinicians who work in primary care have produced a roadmap for occupational therapists who are First Contact Practitioners (FCPs), Advanced Practitioners (AP) or who would like to work towards this level of practice.

This CPD opportunity supports FCP and AP job roles and development of the profession. It forms part of a suite of roadmaps for AHPs working at level 7 – Level 8 of the RCOT Career Development Framework. You can find the roadmap and support material here.

The roadmap includes information about:

  • Primary Care educational pathways
  • National standards and frameworks for occupational therapists
  • The required knowledge, skills, and attributes
  • Moving into primary care
  • How to build a portfolio using the roadmap templates
  • Supervision requirements
  • Training resources

In the roadmap, the Advanced Clinical Practice Capabilities for Primary Care Occupational Therapy, were devised by a Skills for Health/HEE multi-disciplinary Steering Group with representation from Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England. The Steering group, with expert patient experience, clinicians and academics was fundamental in ensuring the accuracy of the capabilities, which were then further refined following public consultation. All contributions to the development of the roadmap and capabilities are gratefully acknowledged.

Network Contract DES

Where a PCN employs or engages an Occupational Therapist under the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme, the PCN must ensure that the Occupational Therapist:

a. has a BSc in or pre-reg MSc in Occupational Therapy under a training programme approved by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists;

b. is a registered member of the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC);

c. is able to operate at an advanced level of practice; and

d. has access to appropriate clinical supervision and an appropriate named individual in the PCN to provide general advice and support on a day to day basis, in order to deliver the key responsibilities outlined in section B10.2.

B10.2. Where a PCN employs or engages one or more Occupational Therapists under the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme, the PCN must ensure that each

Occupational Therapist has the following key responsibilities, in
delivering health services:
a. assess, plan, implement, and evaluate treatment plans, with an aim to increase patients’ productivity and self-care;

b. work with patients through a shared-decision making approach to plan realistic, outcomes-focused goals;

c. undertake both verbal and non-verbal communication methods to address the needs of patients that have communication difficulties;

d. work in partnership with multi-disciplinary team colleagues, physiotherapists and social workers, alongside the patients’ families, teachers, carers, and employers in treatment planning to aid rehabilitation;

e. where appropriate, support the development of discharge and contingency plans with relevant professionals to arrange on-going care in residential, care home, hospital, and community settings;

page 88

f. periodically review, evaluate and change rehabilitation programmes to rebuild lost skills and restore confidence;

g. as required, advise on home, school, and workplace environmental alterations, such as adjustments for wheelchair access, technological needs, and ergonomic support;

h. advise patients, and their families or carers, on specialist equipment and organisations that can help with daily activities;

i. help patients to adapt to and manage their physical and mental health long-term conditions, through the teaching of coping strategies; and

j. develop, implement and evaluate a seamless occupational therapy support service across the PCN, working with community and secondary care where appropriate, and aimed at continuously improving standards of patient care and wider multi-disciplinary team working.

B10.3. The following sets out the key wider responsibilities of Occupational Therapists:

a. provide education and specialist expertise to PCN staff, raising awareness of good practice occupational therapy techniques; and

b. ensure delivery of best practice in clinical practice, caseload management, education, research, and audit, to achieve corporate PCN and local population objectives.

Read the full contract details here:

Network Contract DES

Network Contract DES sets out the guidelines for the ARRS roles of which Occupational therapists’ are explained in full on page 87 of the following document:


Finance & DES-supported roles

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.

Network DES



You can contact our ACP Lead, Kerri Magnus at the BNSSG Training Hub for further information/support on this role see below link:

Kerri Magnus Contact

Email: kerri.magnus2@nhs.net

Mob: 07841618247


Read more about the role OT's can play in Primary Care:

Kerri Magnus Contact

Email: kerri.magnus2@nhs.net

Mob: 07841618247

Skip to content