A Conservative MSP has called for occupational therapy intervention in GP surgeries following the success of a recent pilot scheme that looked to grow opportunity for earlier intervention and increase preventative care.

Central Scotland MSP Margaret Mitchell visited Lanarkshire practice Burnbank Medical Centre and OTs Shonaid McCabe and Lisa Greer after the end of a programme introducing occupational therapy to health centres. Recent figures uncovered by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists found that GP visits could be reduced by 72 percent if OT is afforded early intervention.

North Lanarkshire newspaper Motherwell Times reported that the MSP asked the Scottish Parliament to explore hiring more OTs to expand possibilities.

“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,” she told Holyrood.

“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.”

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