Boost for rehabilitation services

NHS England’s Improving Rehabilitation Services Programme Lead explains why guidance published today is a vital new tool for commissioners, patients, their families, clinicians and provider organisations:

In response to commissioners’ requests for support and guidance, today sees the publication of Commissioning Guidance for Rehabilitation.

This interactive PDF supports the commissioning of effective, high quality rehabilitation services, covering the whole life course and the full range of rehabilitation for both mental and physical health.

Although directed at Clinical Commissioning Groups, it also contains important information for patients, their families, clinicians and provider organisations.

It sets out an economic case for rehabilitation for the individual and society as a whole, while describing ‘what good looks like’ from the perspective of patients and their families. It contains links to the latest evidence and examples of good practice, along with practical advice to commission good quality rehabilitation including ten top-tips.

It explains how to compare rehabilitation services locally, regionally and nationally – and meet the objectives laid out in the Five Year Forward View. It can be used by local commissioners as the basis for conversations with the local population who use services, as well as senior managers and local providers.

I would like to thank all colleagues from our partner organisations – the guidance is something that we have developed together and would not have been possible without their support.

I offer my particular thanks to members of the steering group and the Rehabilitation Programme Board, including our lay representatives who helped us keep the focus on the people who use rehabilitation services.

This new guidance builds on our work with the Wessex Strategic Clinical Network, Rehabilitation is everyone’s business which was published in June 2015 and outlined the principles for good NHS adult rehabilitation services – and the expectations of those using them – service users, families and carers.

Next month Suzanne Rastrick, the Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, will host a series of Improving Rehabilitation Services regional stakeholder events across the country.

The events are free to attend, but there are a few places left at Leeds (5 April), Reading (14 April) and Leicester (27 April).  The event in London (20 April) is already fully booked.

As we know, rehabilitation should enable people of all ages to live fully inclusive lives. These events will have a ‘whole life’ focus, highlighting examples of innovation and good practice and bringing regional colleagues together to explore the issues to address regionally and locally.

Keep a look out for updates about these events and the ongoing rehabilitation work at NHS England.

Lindsey Hughes

Lindsey Hughes is Director of Research and Engagement in the Innovation, Research and Life Sciences (IRLS) Group and Accelerated Access Collaborative at NHS England.

During 27 years of NHS service, including 18 years in frontline service provision as an Orthoptist, Lindsey has held various clinical and professional leadership roles in service delivery, research and education. Lindsey joined NHS England in 2014 and led the Improving Rehabilitation Services Programme prior to joining the IRLS group in 2016 where she developed the research programme before taking up her current role.

Her portfolio includes Research, Horizon Scanning and Demand Signalling, Health Inequalities, Net Zero and Patient and Public Involvement.

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  1. Susan Knox says:

    Dear Lindsey

    My daughter, aged 32 and I would be very pleased to meet with you to discuss the rehabilitation programme she has received over the last 8 months since suffering a serious riding accident which has left her with spinal injuries. The NHS at the acute end was brilliant, saving her life and as much of her neurology as possible. However the disconnected/poorly communicated and co-ordinated care received as an inpatient in acute care and rehabilitation care and now primary care has been extremely frustrating as well as the huge waste of resources for the NHS. Examples of areas where poorly co-ordinated rehab has been experienced – each area seems to work in a ‘silo’ and often give conflicting advice: selection and ordering or appropriate wheelchair; managing podiatry/prevention of foot damage; physiotherapy programme as an outpatient that is geared to any neural recovery; hydrotherapy; pain management; bladder/bowel rehabilitation/management; psychological support.
    My daughter is an NHS employee, a Doctor working in A&E. The setbacks and disjointed care have delayed her return to work – she hoped to be able to begin her return to work programme after 12 months but it is now looking more like 15 months. That deprives the NHS of her expertise and also deprives her of much needed income to afford some of the additional expenses that being disabled presents, for example: bespoke ‘splints’; private neuro-physio (as no way available on NHS); gym membership due to need to swim/exercise rather than ride a horse and walk the dog.
    I do hope you may decide to learn from our case to enable the NHS to develop a more cohesive rehab service. I know that rehab covers more than physical and my daughter’s requirements, but I think she is a valid case study. If she were not an NHS employee with some idea of what is required and how to access, she would be even further behind in her rehab programme and potential return to work.

  2. Antony Daly says:

    As a COUNSELLING Psychologist who has been working in Mental Health Rehabilitation Services for nearly 20 years, it is disappointing to find that the only reference to Psychology is to CLINICAL Psychologists. This needs to be addressed by the British Psychological Society as it undervalues the work of many professionals in the field.