Independent OT practice celebrates official opening with special royal visit to raise profile of occupational therapy
A Hampshire based private occupational therapy practice celebrated its official opening on the 8th of March, with the attendance of Her Royal Highness (HRH), The Princess Royal, to highlight the important work of OTs in the healthcare sector.
The OT Practice is the largest independent occupational therapy provider in the UK and Her Royal Highness opening its new head office marked a significant growth in the business.
Nikki Thompson, Executive Director of The OT Practice and who accompanied HRH throughout the visit, said: “We are honoured to have welcomed Her Royal Highness today. It is a fantastic opportunity to elevate the profile of our profession and the diversity of career opportunities open for occupational therapists in the independent sector.
“We are the first independent OT practice that has been afforded the honour of a visit from The Princess Royal, the Patron of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and are extremely proud to have been chosen.”
HRH was met by representatives from The OT Practice’s therapy team, who described their personal experiences of the challenges, benefits and success of their careers and the rewards of working in the independent sector.
The Princess Royal also met a range of commissioners who procure OT services via The OT Practice, including representatives from military charities The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund and The Royal British Legion.
Local authority and NHS Trust commissioners explained the importance of collaboration between the statutory and independent sectors by showcasing successful waiting list reduction projects between themselves and The OT Practice.
From the case management community, Chris Bartlett, Communications Director of CMSUK, had chance to explain the important relationship between case management and occupational therapy.
In addition, to help showcase the value of occupational therapy, several clients, together with their respective therapists, spoke to HRH about their individual stories and the impact that working with The OT Practice has made to their everyday lives.
Finally, Her Royal Highness met The OT Practice Brand Ambassador Alex Lewis, himself a quadruple amputee. Alex discussed the technology and innovative solutions he uses to enable and maximise his independence in daily life and the aims of his partnership with The OT Practice as a brand ambassador.
During the speeches, Nikki said: “We have been honoured to have hosted this visit today. Ma’am, your Patronage of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists helps with the much needed elevation of the profession’s profile and enhances the public’s understanding of our role. I know I speak for all Occupational Therapists and for those working to support the profession, of our gratitude for this.”
During her visit, HRH was asked to unveil a plaque to commemorate the occasion and say a few words.
In her speech, HRH said: “Thank you very much for inviting me down here today to see the progress that has been made here at The OT Practice and the extremely nice new facilities.
“From what I’ve just seen, it’s quite difficult to encapsulate in three words what an OT does, but I would regard the word ‘independence’ as being crucial to what an OT can do.
“This business has done very well, so thank you very much for what you have achieved and good luck for the next phase.”
Speaking about the future for The OT Practice, Nikki told THIIS: “We’re ambitious and have plans for continued growth. For 2019 we have restructured our therapist network into specialist clinical teams, brining an enhanced focus on the recruitment of expert therapists and the delivery of specialist OT services.
“We have a strong track record of providing support to NHS and Social Care organisations throughout the UK. Today some of those partnerships have shared with Her Royal Highness the importance of collaborative working between the independent and statutory OT services. This forward thinking and cost effective way of working is essential for the future delivery of mainstream OT services.”