NHS will ‘pay the price’ if at-home rehab not offered to patients

The NHS will “pay the price” if it does not embrace at-home rehabilitation, a former health minister has warned.

Community rehabilitation provides tailored support for patients outside hospital to allow them to continue their recovery from emergencies, such as stroke and heart failure, or to enable them to manage conditions such as lung disease and arthritis.

Tory Steve Brine called for a “real improvement” to support people with long-term health conditions outside of hospitals.

He added: “I know that the NHS does so much good for the people of this country, but I also know that rehab matters, and this is an area where real improvement is needed.

“It is vital that people get the rehabilitation they need, or the NHS will pay the price in the long term.”

A new report published by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Royal College of Occupational Therapists and Sue Ryder, urges the Government to offer patients a “right to rehabilitation”.

Its research shows almost half (44%) of people with neurological conditions do not have access to community rehabilitation.

Labour MP Emma Hardy (Hull West and Hessle), who is hosting an event in Parliament with Mr Brine on Wednesday to raise awareness of at-home rehabilitation, called for greater funding.

She said: “The NHS does a fantastic job of treating and caring for patients and it is important that this care continues and is carried over into rehabilitation and ongoing care for people with long-term health conditions.

“The Government needs to ensure that proper funding is provided to our NHS so essential at-home care for patients can be provided.

“It is often just has important as the treatment received in hospital.”

The report warns that failing to provide these services can have devastating consequences for people’s lives, and bring greater costs for the NHS and social care systems.

Karin Orman, assistant director at Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) said: “We need a national approach that structures rehabilitation around people, allowing them to fully participate in life and keeping them connected with family, friends and their community.

“Having so many national organisations coming together to highlight the value of rehabilitation is an important first step.

“We now need a commitment from the relevant government departments, commissioners and providers to ensure rehabilitation is available for everyone who needs it.”