It will intensively continue the effort to integrate more occupational therapists into the NHS so that the beneficiaries are better served, the senior official of the Health Insurance Organization (OHA), Monica Kyriakou, said on Monday at KYPE.
Invited by the KYPE to comment on the recent decision of the General Assembly of the Pancypriot Association of Occupational Therapists (PSE), to reject the proposal of the OAU for the inclusion of occupational therapy services in the NHS, Ms. Kyriakou said that the OAU “fully respects” the decisions of the General Assembly of the PSE, while assuring the beneficiaries that it will intensively continue the effort to integrate more occupational therapists into the GeSY “so that our beneficiaries are better served”, given that today they can receive such services within the GeSY, from a small number of occupational therapists, namely 34 people.
The PSE stated in its announcement last week, that the OAU proposes a budget of 12.8 million euros, while based on calculations and analyzes of the Association's advisers, the necessary funds to cover a sufficient percentage of patients range at 30 million euros.
Mrs. Kyriakou noted that the OAU, aiming to enrich the package of services available within the framework of the National Health Service, has been holding consultations with the PSE for several months. He added that, in the context of these consultations, the Organization, “using the experience it has secured from the provision of services from other health professionals, who have joined since December 2020” and which include the management of patients with chronic diseases, has included in his proposal to the Association of Occupational Therapists, specific ailments for which occupational therapists will provide services, and a specific number of visits by the beneficiaries of these to occupational therapists, “so that the package of services they can provide within the framework of the NHS is clear, always with the aim that the beneficiaries receive the best management”.
In this package of services, he added, the processes of patient evaluation by occupational therapists were also included, in addition to once a year, “something which was also a constant request of the Association”.
He noted that, with these data, i.e. given the number of beneficiaries who have one of the ailments that can receive occupational therapy services, as recorded in the Organization's IT system, the estimated number of people who will be referred to an occupational therapist, the number of visits per year set by the OAU, as well as the number of registered occupational therapists, who are expected to join the GeSY, “the OAU considers that the expenditure which was budgeted and given as a recommendation to the Association, is very satisfactory”. He noted that the number expected to join, around 240-270 people, is not very large.
He also said that the OAU, once it determines the diagnoses, and specifically that someone can receive occupational therapy services if they have that diagnosis, they know that number, 100%, since they are registered in their IT system.
< p>“So we know how many patients we are talking about, but where the assessment is made is how many of these patients who have a diagnosis can be referred for occupational therapy services,” he said, noting that they have also noticed from other health professions that he does not seek 100% of patients who have a disease, access to these professions.
He also added that, “after and at the request of the Association itself”, the OAU also defined the framework within which a discussion will take place after the occupational therapists join the GeSY, for a possible readjustment of this budget, in such a way that, if the access of the number of beneficiaries exceeds the expected to occupational therapy services, “then the OAU is ready to proceed with a relative readjustment of the budget”.
Asked about it, she noted that, given the Association's decision, which was a rejection of the OAU's proposal, they will start the discussions and thoughts on possible other solutions in order to achieve the increase in the availability of these services in the National Health Service.
It is recalled that, in its announcement last week, the PSE stated, among other things, that, after studying the proposal of the OAU, it concludes that the Organization, “does not have the financial ability to ensure all the therapeutic operations that are required for the beneficiaries, while he notes with regret that the approach to the issue is based on purely financial criteria, without any other scientific documentation, to the detriment of the patients”.
He also notes that, the OAU, ” without having begun to provide treatments through the NHS to patients with chronic conditions, attempts to justify the undoubtedly high demand for occupational therapy services as “abuse”, instead of recognizing its own its inability to adequately provide said services to all those who need them due to a lack of resources”.