Landmark standards putting rehabilitation on the right track

New community rehabilitation best practice standards aim to improve the consistency and quality of rehabilitation throughout the UK 

Pam Enderby
Pam Enderby emeritus professor of community rehabilitation at the University of Sheffield

This autumn, a new set of standards for community rehabilitation will, for the first time, look to bring consistency to the quality and delivery of rehab services.  

Right now, the needs of thousands of people, who require community rehab to regain control over their lives, are not being met. If a person does successfully access services, it is likely they will be delivered differently, depending on where they live rather than their needs.  

The new standards aim to change that, driving up consistency and quality across the board. A group of experts from the Community Rehabilitation Alliance in England started the project last year. Funded by the CSP Charitable Trust and led by Diane Playford, professor of neurological rehabilitation at Warwick Medical School, the standards set out a series of recommendations, which include that: 

  1. interdisciplinary community rehab teams have high-quality leadership.
  2. a rehab director should be appointed to the commissioning board at executive or non-executive level.
  3. a rehab network should be developed that includes primary, secondary, tertiary health care, mental health, social care, independent, third sector providers.
  4. a review of existing rehab services is regularly undertaken, removing silos of care, ensuring shared knowledge of local facilities and services and reducing service duplication.
  5. an annual report on rehab should be published and made publicly available for the integrated care board/commissioning board or similar responsible authority.

While the NHS aims to provide free, high-quality care including rehab, for all, it doesn’t always achieve this. We need more joined up services to ensure that skills and interdisciplinary working can benefit all. These new standards for rehab - which I am delighted to have played a part in designing - can help realise this ambition.  

I congratulate the CSP on taking this initiative and I look forward to seeing implementation get underway. 

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