Majority of trauma patients fail to get specialist rehab

Only five per cent of NHS trauma patients in England receives specialist rehabilitation, research has found.


There is a need for better provision of specialist rehab in some major trauma networks

The finding is based on a survey of 65 adult services in England designated as in-patient specialist rehabilitation units. Together they provided nearly 1,000 occupied beds for specialist rehabilitation, with 19 per cent of those being used for trauma patients.

According to the research, published in a report commissioned by the Health Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP), the provision of in-patient specialist rehabilitation for trauma patients varies across England from between one and eight beds per one million population.

A further problem is that between half and two-thirds of specialist rehabilitation units had insufficient staffing to manage a complex caseload.


Only half of England’s 22 major trauma networks use a specialist rehabilitation prescription to direct the care for patients with complex needs after they leave major trauma centres.

The HQIP said its report was the first national clinical audit focused on access to and provision of specialist rehabilitation for patients with traumatic injuries.

It intends that the document will mark a major step towards improving the quality of care delivered to this patient group.

Lynne Turner-Stokes, president of the British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine, said the results in the report showed the need for better access and provision of specialist rehabilitation provision in some major trauma networks.

‘From the recommendations of the report, I encourage major trauma networks and their commissioners to find ways to improve access to specialist rehabilitation,’ she said.

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