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"Occupational therapy empowers people to reach their full potential, achieve their goals, and enjoy life to the full.

“Occupation” refers to practical and purposeful activities that allow us to live independently and give us a sense of identity. This could be anything from essential day-to-day tasks, such as dressing or cooking, to the things that make us who we are—our job, interests, hobbies and relationships.

"Occupational therapy provides practical support to enable people to overcome any barriers that prevent them from doing the activities that matter to them, and helps to increase people's independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life." (BAOT, 2013)


IOTS is a well established and highly regarded company based in Barry, South Wales; consisting of two experienced practitioners- Francesca Dawson and Ellie Burcher. Both are registered Occupational Therapists, which means that they are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC); they are also listed members of their professional body, the British Association of Occupational Therapists (BAOT).

Francesca is an occupational therapist registered with the Health Professions Council who has extensive knowledge of working with clients with a wide variety of orthopaedic conditions (including amputations), catastrophic injuries, including closed head injury and spinal injuries, and clients with a learning disability. With over 20 years’ experience of working in both health service and local authority settings she is skilled in negotiating with statutory services to ensure the best available service to clients.

Subsequent to obtaining a degree in English Literature and Language at Dundee University Francesca qualified with a postgraduate diploma in Occupational Therapy from the London Hospital Medical School in 1992. She also obtained a master’s degree in Advance Occupational Therapy from Exeter University in 1998. Francesca has served on the Council of Occupational Therapists, initially as a representative of the Learning Disability Special Interest group and latterly in the key role of Vice Chairman of Council.

After obtaining her Occupational Therapy qualification Francesca worked within the NHS for several years within the field of elderly mental health, palliative care and post discharge community rehabilitation. Francesca then moved to work within a local authority, initially involved in the prescription of complex equipment and major adaptations. Subsequently she moved into management and training of staff working with clients with physical disability.

Francesca’s work in the statutory sector prompted her recruitment by a community trust to head up their learning disability multidisciplinary rehabilitation service. As well as operational and strategic management responsibilities this post included additional research responsibilities in the retention and recruitment of health professional staff. The rehabilitation service was seen by commissioners as a failing service which Francesca transformed into a modern, dynamic operation and led to her being invited to speak at both the World and European Conference of Occupational Therapists. During this time Francesca also devised a multi-professional model of practice for use with clients with learning disabilities which was published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy.

In 2004 Francesca moved to work full-time in the private sector, initially providing equipment and adaptations recommendations to charities such as the Shaw Trust and Royal British Legion . As part of this role she would assist clients to negotiate with their local statutory providers so that they obtained their full statutory entitlement to services. Subsequently, Francesca moved to providing more general case management with a wide variety of clients including car crash survivors with complex injuries (including amputations) and clients whose pre-existing mental health problems or learning disabilities made it difficult for professionals to correctly establish their needs. Francesca’s work with difficult cases is held in high regard by solicitors. One example of this is that one client’s seven figure settlement is regarded as being directly attributable to her efforts. In her case management work Francesca places high value on close communication with solicitors and her skills in this regard have led to contracts from North America as well as from throughout the UK.

Francesca is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists, the Independent Practitioners Specialist Sector, and Case Management UK (CMSUK). She is currently involved with arranging CPD events for CMSUK and is a committee member. In October 2013 Francesca was randomly selected for audit by the Health and Care Professions Council who verified that she met all the required professional standards.

Ellie Burcher graduated from Oxford Brookes University as an Occupational Therapist (OT) in 2001.  Since qualifying she has practised as an OT within the NHS, Local Government, Charities, and Care Homes.   Ellie has also been employed as a Manager of an Integrated Occupational Therapy Service for a number of years.

This wealth of experience has enabled Ellie to develop extensive knowledge and skills in:

Ellie believes in the value of client-centred practice and the importance of goal focussed intervention, which she achieves through collaborative working with the client, carers, and other service providers.  This is underpinned by her confidence and professionalism, and is delivered effectively through her approachable and empathic communication style.   Ellie fully appreciates the need to deliver effective and timely intervention, and her previous experience means she has the ability to prioritise her work and meet targets within time constraints.
© Copyright 2013 Independent Occupational Therapy Services