Lack of access to high-quality rehabilitation worsens health inequities faced by marginalised communities

The report, based on a literature review, outlines how people in marginalised groups and communities, such as those from ethnic minorities, are not only more likely to live shorter lives but spend a greater proportion of their lives struggling with health difficulties and disabilities.

Easing the pain

It goes on to highlight that vital services that could tackle those inequities are either unavailable or poorly equipped to meet their needs.

Some of the key findings include:

  • Prevention campaigns are badly targeted and referral rates for those who do develop a health condition are inconsistent.
  • At every stage marginalised communities face barriers to accessing high-quality recovery and rehabilitation services, including through societal discrimination, lack of cultural competence or communication barriers.
  • A lack of consistent data is damaging the ability of health services to provide rehabilitation that meets needs.
  • Without high-quality rehabilitation a patient experiences a downward spiral. The prevalence of one Long Term Condition (LTC) can often lead to multiple conditions.

Prof Karen Middleton, chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, says:

‘Rehabilitation services have been under-resourced for decades and were not designed coherently in the first place. This has exacerbated poor health outcomes, particularly for people from marginalised groups. 

‘As it stands, it’s not only the individual who suffers. Without adequate access to rehabilitation, health conditions worsen to the point where more and more pressure is eventually piled on struggling local health systems and other public services.

‘We desperately need a modernised recovery and rehabilitation service that adequately support patients following a health crisis and prevents other conditions developing.’

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) is now calling on all UK governments to fulfil their commitments to address inadequate rehabilitation services and disparities in healthy life expectancy.

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