A key Senedd Welsh Parliament health and social care committee report on patient waiting times has been published, following contributions by the CSP into the need for rehab and prehab services to manage the impact on patients.
The Impact of the waiting times backlog on people in Wales report highlights the need for rehab services and makes an official recommendation to the Welsh Government that 'the Minister for Health and Social Services should set out what action is being taken to ensure that health boards are providing suitable venues for the delivery of services such as pain management, physiotherapy and occupational therapy both in hospitals, on the primary care estate, and in the community'.
In December, Calum Higgins, the CSP’s public affairs and policy manager for Wales gave evidence to the committee's inquiry on waiting times, highlighting the need for rehab to be an integral part of managing waiting times across the NHS in Wales.
The resulting committee report picked up on key themes from the evidence provided from the CSP, including the developing importance of prehab, community rehab, and first contact physiotherapy.
In the report the committee highlights 'prehabilitation programmes can help people to prepare for treatment and recover more quickly from surgery”, and physiotherapy led services “in place in some health boards: Cardiff and Vale UHB highlighted the services and approaches it has in place to support people who are waiting to access planned care, including its Prehab2Rehab project, and its KeepingMeWell.com website.'
The committee also pointed out the importance of digital innovation in rehab: 'Digital prehabilitation and rehabilitation services, advice hubs, and information sources can be useful for people with cardiovascular conditions who are able to access them, but may not be accessible to those who lack digital technology or skills, and may not be everyone’s preference.'
The report also focused on the role primary care can play in managing waiting times overall, including 'first-contact trained physiotherapists or other allied health services to enable people to be seen more quickly in a multidisciplinary setting'.
Finally, the committee stated that they 'firmly believe that effective rehabilitation and reablement are vital to ensure that people are able to stay healthy after they have received their treatment.'
The minister will now be required to formally respond to the report on behalf of the Welsh Government, including a response to the recommendation on rehab provision in secondary, primary and community settings.
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