More therapists required in North Lanarkshire

Occupational therapists Shonaid McCabe, Lisa Greer, Jacqueline Terrance and Margaret Mitchell MSP.
Occupational therapists Shonaid McCabe, Lisa Greer, Jacqueline Terrance and Margaret Mitchell MSP.

Central Scotland MSP Margaret Mitchell is calling for more occupational therapist to be introduced to GP surgeries.

The Conservative politician was responding to the success of a pilot scheme, which aims to promote earlier intervention and preventative care.

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists has found that early intervention by occupational therapy can help to reduce GP visits by 72 per cent, allowing GP expertise to be diverted to those most in need.

After meeting occupational therapists Shonaid McCabe and Lisa Greer at Burnbank Medical Practice, Ms Mitchell asked the Scottish Government whether they would consider recruiting more occupational therapists.

She said: “Occupational therapists play a pivotal part in health and social care for both mental and physical health, but too often a person must reach crisis-point before they are brought under the care of occupational therapy.

“The pilot schemes at Burnbank and Newarthill Medical Centres are a step in the right direction to bringing occupational therapy into primary care. By placing a permanent occupational therapy presence in local GP surgeries, patients are seen immediately by the OT and referred to the appropriate service if their problem is not dealt with there and then.

“However, I was disappointed that Jeane Freeman, the Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for health and sport, could not commit to the recruitment of more occupational therapists, even in the face of overwhelming evidence.”