New roles planned for Notts children’s disability team after ‘marked increase’ in referrals
Six new posts within Nottinghamshire County Council’s children’s disability team are planned following a ‘marked increase’ in referrals.
The authority is seeking approval for the extra roles at a cost of £229,259 after an increase in waiting times in recent years.
The occupational therapists will work with district councils to provide adaptations for children with disabilities – enabling them to access equipment and housing needs more quickly.
Six full-time and one part-time role would be created under the plans.
A report says since the current team structure in the integrated children’s disability service was approved in 2017, ‘there has been a marked increase in referral numbers and complexity of children’ which has had a ‘detrimental effect on waiting times’.
Waiting times are now 18 months for an occupational therapy assessment, five months for an occupational therapy seating assessment, and eight months for an occupational therapy assistant assessment.
Members of the council’s children and young people’s committee will vote on the plans during a meeting on Monday, January 17.
The roles include occupational therapists as well as an assessment officer and service organiser.
A temporary occupational therapy senior practitioner will also be made permanent under the plans.
Council documents stated: “The ICDS children’s disability occupational therapy team is responsible for providing dedicated occupational therapy assessment, planning and support for children and young people who require major and minor adaptations and specialist equipment to ensure their safe care at home and to maximise their wellbeing and independence.
“The role of the children’s occupational therapist is to assess a service user’s specialist equipment and housing needs and to consult and work in partnership with health and social care colleagues and council grants officers to deliver appropriate equipment and housing adaptations to meet the assessed needs.
“Consideration has been given to the use of temporary agency staff. There is a national shortage of suitably qualified staff with social care and paediatric occupational therapy experience and the cost of agency staff is very high.
“Creating full-time, permanent posts will allow the council to invest in training staff, providing them with the skills they need to achieve positive outcomes for children with disabilities and their families.”
If approved, the new roles would come into affect on April 1.