The Impact Of The Qualification Route For Occupational Therapists

Project For The Delivery Of An Overview Of The Impact Of The Qualification Route For Occupational Therapists On Practice Upon Registration


Following the workforce planning exercise in the East Midlands a Strategy Education Review (SER) Group was set up by Health Education East Midlands (HEEM) in order to review the current delivery of Occupational Therapy (OT) training across the Region in order to enable education commissioning decisions to be made based on future workforce needs and to align programmes with care to the patient across the health and social care sectors. The review supported engagement from services and improved decisions. One of the outcomes of SER was the need to commission a report to review the evidence of the impact of the qualification route for Occupational Therapists on practice upon registration. JAD Associates (Improvement Solutions) Ltd (JAD) were appointed to carry out this piece of work.

Purpose of the Impact Review

To provide an independent and objective review of HEEM’s Occupational Therapy education commissions in the East Midlands with a view to providing a full report on evidence of the impact of this training on the career pathways and patient care. HEEM wanted to understand what was the difference experienced by service and patients between the Occupational Therapy programmes commissioned across the East Midlands. As the contracts with the Universities are aligned to the HEEM education commissioning cycle and decisions on the programmes to commission for 2015/16 are made late August/September 2014, HEEM requested that this work be completed by end July 2014 in order that it contributed to the evidence used for the decisions for this round of education commissioning.


The project timescale was very short due to the next commissioning cycle starting late August. JAD therefore spoke to key University Programme Leads as well as representatives from Service, a representative from the College of OT and conducted extensive email liaison with both University and Health Education East Midlands Staff. The key deliverables included a Programme Matrix which mapped the programmes of all the pre-registration OT courses in the East Midlands and the results of an on-line survey of both Students and Graduates of OT, and Managers of OT Services, as well as a full report on findings and evidence gathered.

Survey responses were exceptional and included 191 Students of which 55% were current Students and 45% were past Students. Of 90 Manager responses, over 50% of the respondents stated that they were OT placement coordinators or educators. Just less than 15% were Service Managers and around 10% were University Lecturers or Teaching Staff. Over 70% of the Manager respondents worked within the NHS; 37% in NHS acute and 27% in NHS community care

JAD presented the results of the surveys by answering the questions in HEEM’s Specification under the three headings of Student, Impact on Service and Employment.


The review did present some very useful information surrounding Service perceptions of the outputs of the current programmes in the East Midlands and Student views on the efficacy of the various programmes. Overall JAD believes that the results of the review were encouraging because they demonstrated that OT education provision is well valued and that it caters for a wide range of entry routes into the profession. In terms of the balance between the BSc and MSc programmes, however, the evidence did not highlight any major differences, and in fact the employment routes appeared to be very similar for both.

Several recommendations for improvements to the programmes were put forward by both Managers and Students, particularly in relation to improving the quality of practice placement experience that could be considered in the 2015/16 commissioning cycle.

Team members on this project:

Jane Riley:

Having spent several recent years working within the National Health Service, mainly in a medical staffing capacity, Jane has extensive knowledge of the medical workforce, including terms and conditions of employment of all grades, as well as experience of Junior Doctors’ Hours, Agenda for Change and the Knowledge and Skills Framework.

You can contact Jane to discuss the points raised in this case study on 01673 843059 or by using the J A D Associates online contact form here.