The president of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy has again called on the UK government to ensure that rehabilitation services are not forgotten in new legislation currently going through parliament.
Speaking in the House of Lords during the report stage of the Health and Care Bill this week, Baroness Finlay of Llandaff said: “recovery from any episode will require a period of rehabilitation. That must be factored in. People will need physiotherapy expertise”.
In introducing her amendment to the Bill, she added: “my amendment is there to ensure that this does not get forgotten in the way that services are commissioned and planned for, and so that rehabilitation is viewed as an integral part of the follow-on after the acute phase, as people get home, transition from hospital into the community and look towards resuming their life.”
This latest intervention comes less than a week after the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, in partnership with more than thirty Community Rehabilitation Alliance members, signed a joint letter to the government, calling on it to ensure greater clarity in how community rehabilitation will be assured in NHS plans.
Baroness Finlay’s amendment also gained support from others in the House of Lords. Baroness Hollins, who is also the president of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, detailed her personal experience of the vital importance of community rehabilitation.
She said: “As a mother, I advocated for effective community rehabilitation for my daughter after she become quadriplegic, which was a much better option than the nursing home care that she was initially offered.”
She added: “Robust integration between multiple disciplines within health and social care is essential to ensure the high-quality, coherent, consistent and readily accessible community rehabilitation that can promote physical and mental health and help people to thrive to their full potential within communities.”
Also in support, Baroness Whitaker said: “rehabilitation should be a core service in the NHS. It is inseparable from healing, and healing is often impaired if rehabilitation is not there.”
Responding on behalf of the government, Health Minister Lord Kamall said: “We acknowledge her [Baroness Finlay’s] desire to see strong provision of community rehabilitation and it is important that this is pushed up the agenda.
“Under the existing Bill provisions, every ICB [integrated care board] will be required to provide and improve rehabilitation services as part of its duty to provide a comprehensive health service. As an added layer of scrutiny, ICBs must publish an annual review detailing how they have discharged this function.”
Brynnen Ririe, CSP's public affairs lead for England, said she hoped the latest exchange would put greater focus on the need for high-quality person-centred rehab, but that words must be followed by actions.
She said: “We really value the recognition and support in the Lords for physios and their vital contribution to community rehab services. The CSP and our Alliance colleagues will continue to press the government to ensure that community rehab is pushed up the agenda and ICSs are held accountable for transforming rehabilitation services.”
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