House of Lords hears that access to neuro physio is 'nowhere near recommended standards'

Access to neuro physiotherapists has been described as ‘completely inadequate’, during a recent House of Lords debate on access to health and care services for people with neurological conditions.


Conservative peer, Baroness Fraser of Craigmaddie said that for many neurological conditions, access is falling short of recommendations made by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Ms Fraser, who is also chief executive of Cerebral Palsy Scotland, said: 'People with cerebral palsy, for example, rely on regular access to physiotherapy to prevent further deterioration and to stay well.

Baroness Fraser
Baroness Fraser

But access to neuro physios and other rehabilitation services is completely inadequate and comes nowhere near the standards and guidelines set by NICE for adults with Cerebral Palsy

'It is the same for many other neurological conditions.'

The debate followed the publication last week of the Neurological Alliance’s  'My Neuro Survey' of more than 8,500 people in the UK living with a neurological condition. The survey highlighted severe delays for treatment and support for those with neuro conditions.

The CSP was also highlighted during the debate, for having briefed peers on the importance of rehabilitation. The inclusion of rehab was also something the CSP has pushed for.

Demand for rehab services is increasing

The subject of the debate is close to the hearts of some peers, who have lived experience of needing neurological rehab.

Liberal Democrat, Baroness Thomas of Winchester lives with the condition Pompe disease for which specialist neuromuscular physiotherapy can help with the management of the condition.

She highlighted a report by Muscular Dystrophy UK called Shining a Light.

She said:

Muscular Dystrophy UK’s findings indicated that delayed access to muscle clinics, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy would result in irreversible muscle weakness and muscle loss.

Demand for rehabilitation services is increasing across the UK, with only 40 per cent of people with neurological conditions receive neuro rehabilitation. The pressure on services is also compounded by workforce challenges – another factor that was a key part of the debate in the Lords.

The CSP, along with partners, is calling for an expansion of the workforce and a workforce plan to help tackle the rising demand for rehab services.

Enhance community rehab options

The CSP also believes it is vital that there are enhanced options of rehab closer to home, as part of a blended offer of remote and in-person services. This could help address practical barriers to accessing services such as lower access to a car amongst women.

Recent patient insight research by the CSP suggests rehab is more accessible in community assets, like gyms or community centres, improving participation and lifestyle changes.

You can read the full transcript of the House of Lords debate, here.

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