What is an Occupational Therapist?

An Occupational Therapist is a professional who takes a whole-person approach to both mental and physical health and wellbeing with the aim of supporting individuals to reach their full potential.

They provide people with practical support to empower people to facilitate recovery and overcome any barriers that might prevent them from doing the activities that they need to do or that matter to them. This vital support increases independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life.

Occupational Therapists work with adults and children of all ages with a wide range of conditions; most often this is those who have difficulties due to a mental illness or who have physical or learning disabilities. They can work in a variety of settings including GP surgeries, nursing and care homes or people’s own homes.


What are the benefits of having an Occupational Therapist in the PCN?

  • check-iconShorter waiting time to see a qualified professional through the ‘traditional’ NHS route
  • check-iconSeeing the right person first time, at the right time
  • check-iconEasier access to specialised knowledge
  • check-iconEarly intervention meaning that any conditions are treated in a timely manner
  • check-iconImprovement in patient care, with a shorter lead time meaning that patients feel more positive and reassured – they understand their issues and have a plan for the future
  • check-iconThorough assessment, diagnosis and treatment/ solutions provided
  • check-iconAppointments are more in depth and typically take up to 3 times longer than a GP appointment.
  • check-iconAlleviate caseload of overworked GPs, allowing them to see and concentrate of patients that they can potentially help
  • check-iconBetter quality, more comprehensive appointments with tailored outcome
  • check-iconReduction of GP capacity costs
  • check-iconReception staff trained in triage to ensure that patients filter through to correct pathway
  • check-iconReduction in overall waiting times, freeing up capacity
  • check-iconOccupational Therapist working autonomously and managing their own caseload
  • check-iconReduction in costly, unnecessary referrals to Secondary Care.
  • check-iconAbility to work the extended hours
  • check-iconIntegration into the PCN/ Practice workforce
  • check-iconLess prescription costs
  • check-iconCan work the extended hours

How Does it work?


The Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme was introduced by NHS England in 2019 to support the recruitment of additional roles into Primary Care. These additional funds were made available to the Primary Care Networks to create more frontline roles and support the reduction in waiting lists at GP surgeries.


The funds are allocated to each PCN and this is calculated according to how many patients they have registered. The PCN is then free to allocate these funds as they see fit and hire for any of the roles that are covered by the ARRS funding.


This funding covers a number of roles, such as Clinical Pharmacists, Social Prescribers, Podiatrists, Paramedics, Occupational Therapists, Dietitians, and Physiotherapists to name but a few.


Depending on the demography (and sometimes geography) of the area, the PCN chooses the distribution of roles that best reflects their population and the services that are required.


The PCN applies to their local CCG for these funds. Once they have been agreed, the PCN is able to create any new role and fund it.


The newly employed person does not sit on their direct payroll, with the salary being covered by the AARS funding money that has been made available by NHS England. This might be a person who is hired directly by the PCN or through a company, such as Xcel Health.

What Does the Occupational Therapist do?

An Occupational Therapist helps people of all ages overcome the effects of a disability caused by illness, ageing or accident so that they can carry out everyday tasks or occupations.

An Occupational Therapist considers all the needs of the patient – physical, psychological, social and environmental. This support can make a real difference giving people a renewed sense of purpose, opening up new horizons, and changing the way that they feel about the future.

They can help with every day tasks such as :

  • check-iconBathing
  • check-iconCare of Others
  • check-iconDressing
  • check-iconDriving
  • check-iconEating
  • check-iconFinancial Management
  • check-iconHome Management
  • check-iconLeisure
  • check-iconMeal Preparation
  • check-iconPlay
  • check-iconSafety Procedures

Why Choose Xcel Health for your PCN?

We have been providing services into Primary Care Networks since 2019, and are able to draw on our experience of running 4 successful Private Clinics to build a comprehensive and robust model to support our colleagues in the NHS.

We understand the challenges faced by Primary Care Networks and GP surgeries and we work together, becoming an integral part of the surgery to ensure that we get the best outcome for patients, first time, every time.

It is why our Clinicians work really hard to become an integrated member of your local team, ensuring that patients can get the best outcomes on their first visit, every time.

Our highly skilled Clinicians will be able to work with the reception staff to ensure that the correct patients are referred to them and be present in the surgeries to provide support. They will be able to join local meetings and feedback on clinical outcomes and make onward referrals where appropriate.

They have all embarked and passed the FCP Roadmap set out by HEE and done all the required mandatory trainings. We have qualified supervisors who will frequently observe and feed back on their work, ensuring that the highest clinical and ethical standards are met at all times.

Where required, our Clinicians can work remotely to triage patients, providing advice to those in need of it and booking in face to face appointments where required. This is particularly helpful if Clinic space is at a premium and every appointment counts!

We work together with the Primary Care Networks to reduce waste, such as missed appointments and we are proud of the fact that our DNA rate is below the national average of 12%. We achieve this through ensuring that the reception team feel confident about explaining the benefits of the Service and that the patient can see the benefit of such an outcome.


How can we check if you are doing a good job?

good job

We will regularly ask for feedback from patients in regards to their experiences. Not only is this a requirement of HEE, but it is an important part of the role that we do. We have to validate and understand the experience of the patients, so that we can ensure they are satisfied with the service that they receive.

good job

We will also send you monthly data which will typically detail the number of appointment slots and the number of patients seen, the conditions that have been treated and the outcomes. These reports can be tailored if there is anything that you particularly want to see.