I read with great delight the article by David Woodheadreferring to the virtues of working on an allotment and how beneficial it is.

I read with great delight the article by David Woodheadreferring to the virtues of working on an allotment and how beneficial it is (page 25, 5 October).

The value of horticulture therapy is well known within occupational therapy circles but less so elsewhere.

As an occupational therapist working in the community for GP practices, I would love to be able to set up such a group and have talked about doing this in recent months. However, with financial recovery plans in place, the emphasis for many services is now on redesign and the development of tighter criteria which would unfortunately exclude those people who could benefit most from this type of intervention.

Services would, as Mr Woodhead appears to suggest, benefit from being proactive as opposed to reactive. Yet my service has been instructed to review its criteria and concentrate on prevention of immediate crisis. Where does this leave those people who would benefit from access to an occupation therapy service that could contribute so much in enabling people to positively participate in occupational performance.

I guess the plans I have to start a gardening group will have to be shelved and I will return to a prescriptove model of practice which will dictate the service I provide and not get anywhere near to unlocking the occupational performance potential of my patients.

Annette Ferrier
Senior occupational therapist
Coventry tPCT