#Otalk 13th Oct 2015 – What If…

One of the fun things about Twitter is ‘eavesdropping’ on other people’s conversations. Well – if they will just pop up in your timeline. On Saturday I was browsing my tweets and spotted this one by @hawki1989.

“What if OTs were no longer employed by the health service?” Julia Scott @BAOTCOT #derbyinnovate15 @DerbyOT

It turned out that Thomas Hawksworth was at the Derby University OT Student conference and he was kind enough to agree to host this week’s OTalk on this very topic. Here’s his introduction.

It’s a pleasure to be asked to host an OTalk session, particularly under the circumstances that it was.

On 10th October, as well as it being World Mental Health Day, the University of Derby in the United Kingdom hosted the first student-organised and student-led Occupational Therapy conference called InnOvaTe. The day consisted of sessions and workshops on the role of OT in various environments and with different client groups; all researched or experienced by Derby students. We were also excited to welcome Julia Scott, the Chief Executive of the College of Occupational Therapists, to our campus who gave the open plenary for the day.

In her speech, Julia Scott talked about the role of OT within the UK’s National Health Service but also paid lip-service to the role-emerging areas that OTs have yet to reach their potential. Through this frame, Julia encouraged students to be bold and entrepreneurial, or in her words, to be “wild, crazy and fantastic”– wild in your dreams, crazy about occupation and fantastic about your clients.

One of the questions posed by Julia was “what if OTs weren’t employed by the health service?”

What would this mean for clients who wouldn’t have as much access to therapists in hospitals, or for professionals who would need to market their abilities, seek out clients and be more flexible in their means of work? What about students who may have less access into the NHS-funded profession but may be able to embrace a different and more varied sense of OT away from the medical model?

Essentially, would the profession, professionals, students and clients benefit from OTs movement away from the medical model or medical environments?

Looking forward to this discussion – Tuesday at 8pm

Thomas Hawksworth @hawki1989

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