MPs and peers pledge their support for better access to community rehabilitation

35 MPs and peers have backed our call to end the postcode lottery of rehab services and deliver on everyone’s #RightToRehab at an event at the House of Commons on 26 February.

John Lamont MP holding pledge board with Karin Orman (RCOT), Niamh Buckingham (Sue Ryder), Rob Yeldman (CSP)
John Lamont MP with Karin Orman (RCOT), Niamh Buckingham (Sue Ryder), Rob Yeldman (CSP)

At the event we launched a new hard-hitting report, published by Sue Ryder, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, which asks the government to ensure the NHS delivers on patients’ right to rehabilitation.

The report, Community Rehabilitation: Live Well for Longer, 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. It calls for universal access for high quality, person-centred community rehabilitation services.

Community Rehabilitation: Let's Live Well Longer report preview

Elizabeth's story

At the event, MPs and peers, including Justin Tomlinson, the Minister for Disabled People, met with rehab practitioners and service users to learn more about how community rehab changes lives. They also watched a virtual reality film featuring Elizabeth Printer, who suffered a debilitating stroke aged 46. She lost her career and her mental health suffered severely as a result of inadequate rehabilitation.

MPs described the experience as “very powerful”, commenting that “early access to rehabilitation is essential” and “everyone should watch this”.

Parliamentary support for the campaign

Emma Hardy, Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle, 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 as important as treatment received in hospital.”

Steve Brine, Conservative MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford, said:

“As a former Public Health Minister, 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.”

Health Minister Justin Tomlinson MP posing with rehab practitioners
Health Minister Justin Tomlinson MP meeting with rehab practitioners

‘Abandoned by the system’

Research shows that large numbers of people feel abandoned by the system after diagnosis or discharge from hospital. Almost half (44%) of people with neurological conditions have no access to community rehabilitation for their condition.

Pamela Mackenzie, Executive Director of Neurological Services at Sue Ryder, said:

“This research confirms that there are significant inconsistencies and people are missing out on vital rehabilitation. Now is the time for the Government to end the postcode lottery and ensure the appropriate rehabilitation is available to every person who needs it.”

Next steps

Taking the campaign forward, we will support MPs and peers to fulfil our key asks:

  1. Ask your political party to commit to high quality, accessible community rehabilitation for all;
  2. Use the parliamentary debate on the NHS accountability framework (due in Spring 2020) to mandate delivery of universal community rehabilitation;
  3. Use parliamentary scrutiny of anticipated changes to the NHS constitution to make people’s existing rights to community rehabilitation explicit;
  4. Visit a community rehabilitation service in your constituency to see its impact first hand;
  5. Ask questions of your local Clinical Commissioning Group or Health and Wellbeing Board about their plans to improve access to high quality community rehabilitation services.

For more information visit http://righttorehab.org/

Image of Niamh Buckingham

Policy and Public Affairs Officer

Niamh Buckingham