Associate Feature: A right to rehab can recondition Scotland’s health and social care
Like scores of other organisations, the CSP warmly welcomed the Scottish government pledge to implement a ‘right to rehab’ in Scotland in the coming years.
It is right that everyone who can benefit from community rehabilitation can access the right healthcare and support they need to recover from injury or illness and live well with long term conditions, wherever they live in Scotland.
The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has not just demonstrated the ability of systems to flex when needed, but that the system is interdependent, and that only a whole-systems approach avoids moving problems from one place to another.
In supporting people to live a better quality of life, community rehabilitation creates a healthier population, which is at the heart of the Scottish government’s priorities. The central challenge is to reduce avoidable hospital admissions, prolong independent living, delay and reduce reliance on social care and promote healthier lifestyles. The right to rehabilitation, with the involvement of health and social care and the third sector, will ease the pressure on hospitals and keep the whole health system sustainable.
There is however a major obstacle to improving community rehabilitation which must be addressed, and it is the need for a sustainable workforce. Shortages and vacancies exist already. Expanding and diversifying primary care with more health professionals and new roles is reliant on supply.
The allied health professionals are core to the community health workforce. The COVID pandemic has already delayed the expansion of the physiotherapy workforce, which won’t now be realised before 2025. Scottish health care must plan for the system we want to see, and the time is now for ambitious meaningful workforce planning for physiotherapy and the other allied health professionals. With the right workforce, and a right to rehab, Scotland’s health and social care can gain a sustainable future.
This article was sponsored by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Scotland.
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