To receive an update from the Occupational Therapy Service.
To receive the report which provided an update on the Occupational Therapy Service.
A presentation was received from the Occupational Therapy Lead for the Moving and Handling work within the Community Resources Unit. Details were provided of the new team, which includes four Occupational Therapists and one Registered Nurse; this team will be specifically involved with the Moving and Handling work within the County.
He elaborated on the importance of the Moving and Handling work, which reduced the risk of injuries, reduced hospital admissions and reduced the time spent in hospitals. He also added that the field was essential in order to assist individuals to live as independently as possible, and retain their dignity. One element of the work of the Moving and Handling assessors will be single care. By assessing and providing specialist equipment and timely intervention, it could mean that one person could provide care safely. This will release the capacity of carers and provide suitable care in a cost-effective way.
The Occupational Therapy Lead reported that he would share a bilingual copy of the presentation with the members. Members were invited to ask questions and offer observations.
During the discussion, the following observations were submitted by members:
· Gratitude was expressed for the presentation which provided a better depiction of the improvements that the Occupational Therapy service and the Moving and Handling team had made to the lives of Gwynedd residents.
· A question was asked about how residents in the community would be informed about the team's work and whether there were plans to engage with the public in order to make them aware of this resource. It was suggested that a presentation could be given to organisations such as Merched y Wawr or the Women's Institute (WI), who would then disseminate the message.
· It was suggested that it would be beneficial to provide this presentation to all of the County's Councillors.
· A further explanation was sought about the waiting lists that continued to exist for assessments in some areas and a question was asked about the length of the waiting lists and whether Occupational Therapists could be moved around areas. It was questioned whether the service was consistent across the County.
· It was asked whether there were plans to employ additional Occupational Therapists and further details were sought on point 3.7 of the report which referred to jobs in the Children's Service and the Learning Disability Service.
· The appointment of four Occupational Therapists and the Registered Nurse to establish the Moving and Handling service was praised and they were thanked for their work in supporting the residents of Gwynedd in a dignified way. It was added that it was nice to see the amount of work that had been achieved by the Occupational Therapy service over the past year. Particular thanks were expressed to the Head of Adults, Health and Well-being, the Senior Adults Services Manager and the Occupational Therapy Lead for their work.
In response to the above observations and questions from members, it was noted:
· That the service was seeking to disseminate the message about the service's existence through members of the Community Resource Teams (Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, district nurses and general practitioners), as well as thinking of different ways to connect with individuals who would benefit from the service. The Occupational Therapy Lead added that he would be willing to provide a presentation and was eager for people to know of the availability of this service. He would be happy to collaborate with the Members and receive their ideas on how to contact communities to disseminate the message. He reported that the team was relatively new and that there was an intention to share the presentation with third sector organisations and other services, and that he was eager to include information in Newyddlen Gwynedd.
· It was confirmed that it was possible to move staff between areas, this already happened; but attempting to obtain the correct staff in the areas required at the right time, was challenging. It was noted that the team had to prioritise the most urgent and intense cases over the past year. It was explained that the population of Gwynedd meant that some areas received more referrals than others and moving staff to meet demands as they arose caused problems and shortages in other areas. It was added that the Department was aware of the challenges and was seeking to resolve them; it was noted that collaboration was taking place with the University by providing placements for students and was funding a trainee to complete an Occupational Therapy degree course. It was confirmed that the occupational therapy service had been fully staffed since the beginning of the year, but that the period where vacant posts had existed had created a workload that needed to be tackled. It was hoped that the new officers could provide support to reduce the waiting lists.
· In response to the enquiry as to whether five officers were enough to support the people of Gwynedd, the Occupational Therapy Lead explained that the Moving and Handling officers were new, specialist posts to complement the team of Occupational Therapists that already existed within the Adults Department. It was explained that the Learning Disabilities and Children jobs were additional to the jobs within the Moving and Handling team and additional to the Occupational Therapist posts that already existed in the Adults Department. It was anticipated in three years' time that another three qualified officers could be welcomed to the service. These were Occupational Therapy trainees who were at different stages in their degree courses. It was added that it would be desirable to have more staff; however, there was a need to be practical and realistic with the resources. Nevertheless, work was underway to seek to weigh up the demand and seek to anticipate what skills and expertise would be required in the future when staff left, i.e. consider what posts would need to be filled to address the needs.
It was added that the Service would not be in the position in which it found itself today without this Committee's intervention 12-18 months ago to obtain an additional resource to establish the Moving and Handling team. This would enable the Service to assist people at the right time and there was now potential to proceed with the work and achieve more for the residents of Gwynedd. It was noted that it remained early days but that the Occupational Therapy service was in a better position than it was 12 months ago, and it was hoped that it would be possible to report on the further successes of the team to this Committee in another year.
To accept the report that provided an update on the Occupational Therapy Service.