The value of rehabilitation was centre stage during a recent House of Commons debate to mark World Stroke Day.
Conservative MP Robert Neill, who is co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on stroke, began the session by recalling how his wife’s recovery from a stroke highlighted to him areas that need focus. He said: 'She made a courageous fight to recover, and I think we have discovered a number of areas where much more work needs to be done.'
Sir Robert added: 'What troubled me was when Anne-Louise eventually left the rehabilitation unit in Orpington, where she had excellent care, we were lucky enough to be able to continue care at a proper level, through our own resources as a family. There was a young woman in there, probably in her mid-40s, who was a single parent. She lived on her own and had no one to take care of her. She was there before Anne-Louise arrived in the unit; she was still there when Anne-Louise left. What happens to someone in that condition is a real worry to us.'
The variability of rehabilitation services in the community was then raised, with a call to ‘level up’ provision across the country.
Andrew Gwynne MP (Lab) highlighted how, 'Only a quarter of community rehab teams and early supported discharge services are offering support seven days a week. That is not good enough. With patients waiting too long for treatment when they need it and too long for support in the community following treatment, it is clear that the system is broken.'
Labour MP and former neurophysiotherapist, Rachel Maskell, highlighted that key to service provision is the workforce to go alongside it, specifically mentioning physiotherapy. She said: 'We need a specialist workforce. It is positive that we are training more people in stroke specialisms.' She added: 'Unfortunately, the gaps in the workforce mean that it is hard to have the quality of treatment that will benefit the patient, from the most acute phases of the stroke right through to rehabilitation.'
Also contributing to the debate was Marion Fellows, of the SNP, who raised the 'overwhelming demand for rehabilitation.' She cited the Scottish Government’s recently published Stroke Improvement Plan 2023.
Number of subscribers: 2