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Leadership from the ashes: influencing change and promoting occupational therapy

In a time where there are greater demands on the NHS (NHS England 2014), occupational therapists can play a significant part in improving services, reducing hospital admissions and delayed discharges. It is clear that each of us has a role in leading on the promotion of occupational therapy and influencing change at all levels. Leadership is multifaceted (NHS Leadership Academy 2013) and the profession needs leaders who can inform colleagues and those involved in shaping services on the value o foccupational therapy – leaders who can support and encourage occupational therapy staff to be at the heart of improving services and ensure they are given the ‘time, capacity and skill mix to design and evaluate occupation-focused programmes’ (COT 2016, p24). In the absence of an identified occupational therapy lead within the local area, where many individual therapists were working autonomously, often without clear clinical direction or professional support, the authors set about to unite the occupational therapy workforce, share practice and influence change from within. One year on, they have raised the profile of the profession, boosted staff morale and will soon have a professional lead in place to influence decision making. Their work has inspired a dynamic group of therapists to collectively lead, challenge and influence service provision. They would like to share their experience to equip others with strategies to develop leadership and consider their role in the promotion of the profession and how to influence change.

Fordham, S. & Glassman, B. (2017) Leadershipfrom the ashes: influencing change and promotingoccupationaltherapy, British Journal of Occupational Therapy, Supplement 80, pp78-80.

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