asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he has any evidence of difficulties in recruiting occupational therapists in the National Health Service; and if any information is available to him about the recruitment of occupational therapists in the private sector;(2) if he will make a statement on the adequacy of the supply of occupational therapists in the National Health Service; and if he will indicate such information that he has about the supply of occupational therapists in the private sector of medicine.
The results of a sample survey by health authorities last year suggested that nationally about 15 per cent. of funded posts for occupational therapists were unfilled after three months. We have had discussions with representatives of the College of Occupational Therapists. We are now considering ways in which we might increase the numbers of occupational therapy students in training. We have accepted and will implement the substantial additions to the salary scales of occupational therapists that have been recommended by the pay review body for professions allied to medicine.We do not hold information about occupational therapists employed in the private sector.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what assessment he has made of the correlation between the trend towards greater use of community care and the demand for occupational therapists.
The greater use of community care has implications for the deployment of occupational therapists. The precise demand depends on the level, nature and organisation of National Health Service and local authority occupational therapy services in a particular locality. We are examining the organisatiońal issues and the relationship between the two services to ensure that trained occupational therapists are used in the most effective manner.