Atlantis Medical News
UK needs more overseas occupational therapists, recommend government advisers
Dan Smith of Royal College of Occupational Therapists
30 May 2019
The Migration Advisory Committee recommends which jobs are added to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), making it easier to recruit people from outside the European Economic Area if their professions are difficult to recruit to.
The government is now considering its response.
RCOT has lobbied for the profession to be added to the list as vacancy rates are as high as 40 per cent in some areas, with the Midlands, East of England and London the worst hit. Rural areas that are far from universities and mental health services have also struggled to recruit.
This is the first time the list has been reviewed since 2013 and several other professions have been added to the list for the first time. Occupational therapists have never been on the list.
Karin Bishop, RCOT assistant director of professional practice, said:
‘We are calling on the government to take forward the committee’s recommendation to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the public and their ability to live independently. Without access to the type of proactive preventative care that occupational therapists provide, more people will undoubtedly ‘overflow’ into already overstretched A&E departments or GP surgeries. This is worse for patients and more expensive for the NHS.
‘We have heard from so many members who have struggled to meet the requirements to recruit from outside Europe, especially when meeting salary thresholds, which is why RCOT has worked so hard to get occupational therapists added to the list.’