Patients’ ‘first steps’ showcasing the power of rehab

The CSP is backing a new ‘rehab firsts’ campaign highlighting everyone’s right to rehab, reports James Crichton-Smith

Patients’ ‘first steps’ showcasing the power of rehab Matt Keeble/PA Wire
(l-r) Specialist rehab nurse, Kate Tantam; Jo, whose footsteps feature on a billboard; and physio Alice Brelsford-Ward [Matt Keeble/PA Wire]

We are proudly supporting a major new campaign that is calling for an end to the postcode lottery for NHS rehab services that help people recover from the likes of car crashes, cancer, or strokes. 

The ‘first steps’ and ‘first words’ billboards and radio adverts kicked off the activity in February and showcased patients’ ‘firsts’ after illness or injury, which are only made possible by the work of a multidisciplinary team of physios, speech and language therapists, nurses, and occupational therapists. 

The CSP worked closely with Plymouth-based specialist rehab nurse, Kate Tantam, whose idea the billboards were, as well as an external agency to help bring patient stories to life and reach as many people are possible. The billboards and adverts align with the CSP’s commitment to ensure everyone’s right to rehab is realised and demonstrate its leadership to drive the rehabilitation agenda forward. 

A key part of our role was to secure additional backing for this work from more than 30 health charities and professional bodies who form the Community Rehabilitation Alliance (CRA), which the CSP convenes and co-chairs. 

‘Rehab gives people back their lives’ 

Kate Tantam and team with Jo during her rehab journey
Kate Tantam and team with Jo during her rehab journey

Sara Hazzard, CSP assistant director and co-chair of the CRA said: ‘It was vital that we engaged positively with this work and brought the wealth of policy and health comms experience to this activity. 

As long-time champions of rehab, and leaders within this specialist area, we could see the huge value this high-profile activity had and were delighted to be able to use our extensive network through the CRA to secure wide-ranging support from across the health and social care sector.’ 

The multidisciplinary nature of rehab is a key theme in the campaign activity, with each patient having had a different experience and therefore needing a wide range of professions to enable them to rebuild as best they can.  

Kate Tantam, ICU rehabilitation nurse said: ‘Rehab gets patients back to the people and things they love. Their goals may not seem big – to hold a grandson, to make a cup of tea, to go to the loo on their own, to say “I love you” – but they are mountains to climb if you can’t move your arms or legs or have lost your speech. 

‘Rehabilitation gives people back their lives. As a nurse, I know the vital role AHPs, including physios, support workers and whole MDT deliver to help change people’s lives. 

‘I hope this campaign helps persuade NHS leaders across the UK to provide much needed rehab services.’

Actor and broadcaster Stephen Fry is supporting the campaign:

Actor, broadcaster Stephen Fry [Cheese Scientist / Alamy Stock Photo]
Actor and broadcaster Stephen Fry [Cheese Scientist / Alamy Stock Photo]

‘I had a very nasty fall from a 6ft high stage onto concrete. The orthopaedic surgeon warned me that people who had fallen from lesser heights had never walked again. I am one of the lucky ones and I am feeling whole and healed thanks to good physiotherapy. I feel very lucky to be able to walk again which is why I’m supporting this campaign to make rehabilitation services available no matter where you live. Rehabilitation is just as important as medicine and surgery in helping people reclaim their lives after injury, illness or because of long-term conditions. Everyone deserves access to rehabilitation, and I back this campaign to have rehab reps in every hospital to ensure everyone gets the get the right help at the right time.’ 

Back the Petition for Rehab, which is calling for rehab leadership in every hospital, trust and board in the UK.


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