We asked Angela Birleson, Chair of the Conference Programme Committee, to talk about what delegates can expect from the speakers at this year’s conference.
Dr Angela Birleson, Chairman of the Conference Programme Committee
Being Chair of the CPC, I can see how the Annual Conference evolves and improves each year. No conference is the same and it is so exciting to witness at first hand the way that the occupational therapy landscape has successfully adapted and formed around health and social care priorities and economic and political imperatives. It is equally stimulating to see how innovative research is informing occupational therapy practice and how evidence is being built that shows the effectiveness of our profession. The Conference is a physical manifestation of everything that is excellent about the occupational therapy profession, and it is your opportunity to share good practice and learn about the latest developments that are influencing occupational therapy thinking.
For the first time ever, Annual Conference will be opened by a celebrity mental health campaigner writer and comedian, Ruby Wax. Ruby’s superstar status will definitely bring a new dimension to conference. But she is more than a celebrity, she is a qualified psychotherapist who has just completed a Masters in Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, under the founder of Mindfulness based cognitive therapy, Mark Williams, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Wellcome Principal Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. Completing a Master’s degree was a huge undertaking by Ruby who not only lives with a depression, which she calls Black Dog, but also has dyslexia.
This year’s Conference has also speakers who are superstars from the occupational therapy profession. Suzanne Rastrick, chief allied health professions officer for NHS England has been a trail blazer for occupational therapy. She has forged a phenomenal career in the health sector, moving from an OT post to generalist management positions including director of nursing, PCT chief executive and director of quality for a CGC. She is a high profile advocate for the profession and a shining example of how occupational therapy skills can be applied to ensure solutions for service users are found and that better services emerge as a result.
Dementia superstars, Maud Graff and Jennifer Wenborn will also be delivering a plenary that highlights how international research has impacted on the delivery of dementia occupational therapy services in the UK.
Abstracts session presenters include occupational therapy superstars such as: Maggie Winchcombe, who will outline her work on trusted assessors; Mary Booth, who will talk about what the CQC are really looking for in their inspection and Carolyn Unsworth, who has carried out ground breaking work on the OT role in fitness to drive assessments.
As the Social Care sector in England is about to undergo sweeping changes when the Care Act becomes law in April, a dedicated social care programme will emphasise what all occupational therapists need to know to break down the barriers between health and social care and provide a more integrated service. Radical changes are also taking place in Wales and Scotland, so delegates will also have the opportunity to hear what lessons can be learnt from these two countries.
The Specialist Section – Work will also be running their annual conference alongside the College’s conference. This area of occupational therapy is attracting interests from policy makers, who recognise that occupational therapists are crucial to helping people to return and to continue working. Speakers include influential wellbeing at work leaders such as Professor Stephen Bevan form The Work Foundation, Dr Jean McQueen from the Scottish Government and Professor Ralph Fevre, a social researcher from Cardiff University.
To find out more information and book your place visit www.cotannuakconference.org.uk.
I look forward to seeing you in Brighton.
Conference date 30 June- 2 July 2015, The Brighton Centre, Brighton.