Royal College of Occupational Therapists Calls On Future Prime Minister To Make Health and Social Care A Key Priority

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists are calling for Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, contenders to be the UK’s next Prime Minister, to make health and social care a key priority.

In a letter written to the contenders the Royal College of Occupational Therapists talk about how the cost-of-living crisis is worsening pressures on health and social care systems which is still dealing with COVID-19 and Long Covid.

Which has exacerbated the huge demand for rehabilitation services and severe shortages in the health and social care workforce.

They also take aim at the “promises to reform social care and to ‘level up’” saying that they have not yet been fulfilled and that social care has not received the increase in resources required to provide care when and where it’s needed.

The health disparities white paper has also been delayed.

They ask that the new Prime Minister tackles five areas to make a positive difference to health and social care.

What the next Prime Minister must do: 

  • Challenge the cost-of-living crisis. The new Prime Minister should prioritise reducing financial pressures on people as inflation continues to rise. They must support health and social care workers who are struggling with increasing energy and petrol prices, especially those who travel to provide care in people’s homes.
  • Recruit and retain the health and social care workforce. It’s no secret that we need more health and social care workers. But we also need to retain the existing workforce. For example, in social care, there is a desperate need for pay and progression parity with the NHS and more opportunities for career progression and job development.
  • Reduce the pressures on community-based health. Community-based health is struggling to meet demand. The new Prime Minister should prioritise extending prescribing responsibilities to occupational therapists and other allied health professionals to help reduce pressures on services, improve patient care and save money across the system. 
  • Ensure that children and young people get the therapy support they need. In the last survey of children’s occupational therapists it showed significant barriers to accessing occupational therapy in schools, with a big jump in mental health demand and staff shortages in education settings. It needs a proper, fully funded catch-up plan that will increase the availability and accessibility of support across the country.
  • Develop solutions to overcome rampant health inequalities.One of the current government’s stated priorities has been the levelling up agenda, but the health disparities white paper has been delayed time and again. We need action to reduce health inequalities now. At the same time, we need to ensure that people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to train to become health and care professionals.

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists have written to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss and have stated they will continue to lobby the new Prime Minister once they are chosen.

As healthcare is devolved, they will also be reiterating all of these calls with the governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.