Occupational Thearapy: Case study

Sandra Gill reports on the latest situation to change the workload for Occupational Thearapists at Lambeth Council. 

  1. Lambeth OT’s Case Load:

OT’s carry between 25 and 30 client cases, made up of a different ‘weighted’ cases

OT’s are expected to take on 3 new allocated cases every week / be able to close cases regularly so that their total case load does not go too far over 30.

OT’s completed a ‘snap-shot’ Stat sheet in 2015 to prove that OT were already working over capacity, at this work rate, and that carrying 25-30 cases prevented OT’s from having time to work on all the tasks that needed to be done which slowed down case throughput/ made OT’s feel stressed.


  1. OT Management’s idea to change the ways OT worked, so that they would take more cases off the waiting list but still work the same hours:

OT staff were brought into a side room and our OT line manager informed us that of next week, OT’s would be expected to work on their current caseloads in 4 days not 5 days, and on the 5th day OT’s would now be allocated ‘a couple’ of OT waiting list cases that could be travelled to and from/assessed/written up/actioned/closed in one day.

Despite verbal objections from staff in that meeting, it was clear that OT management had already made up their mind.

OT’s got together and emailed our OT managers, with our Service Managers, Unison to flag up our concerns, reporting that OT’s would be keeping their own stats sheets to capture all the problems/issues

OT Team Leader then sent out a formal email, formally declaring that this ‘new way of OT working’ would be monitored by a formal 4 week Pilot

OT Team Leader emailed OT staff and Service managers the formal OT Fixed Day Duty Pilot documents, with a slightly amended version of the OT staff suggested Stat sheet

  1. Outcome:

After 2 weeks, it was clear that the majority of OT cases on the waiting list could not be travelled to and from/assessed/written up/actioned/closed in one day.

After 2 weeks it was clear that losing one day a week away from OT’s main caseload was having a significantly negative impact on their ability to work on/throughput their main caseloads.

OT staff got together to share concerns and then one OT staff member emailed concerns to OT Management and Service Managers.

The OT Management led new way of working was dropped after 2 weeks.

  1. Way Forward Summary:

As part of Unison’s re-launch of the ‘Just Say No Campaign’, I believe we should be pushing Lambeth to ensure that ALL new Management suggested “New Ways of Staff Working” are introduced ONLY as a Stats Monitored Pilot, with fixed Review time frame, to allow these Pilot stats to be reviewed/examined by staff, Management andUnison BEFORE any “New Ways of Working” become permanent features in any Lambeth council team.

Unison should advertised on new “Just-Say-No” re-launch campaign posters that Unison will help members set up Pilot Stats sheets to record all these issues experienced when ‘new ways of working’ are introduced by management without a formal Pilot.

The basic principles of demanding a Stats Pilot is to shine a light/ensure full transparency on an injust situation, (Matthew 5:39-45), which stops the unjust situation continuing because Management can see the evidence that this is not fair and have a change of heart. Genius.


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