Associate feature: Rehabilitation must be a government priority for healthcare
The COVID-19 pandemic will change healthcare. It has demonstrated the feasibility and efficacy of virtual rather than face to face consultations, and the ability of systems to be flexible while remaining robust.
What continues to matter is that the ‘whole systems’ approach to planning and delivering healthcare is not undermined. With pressure on hospitals and care wards, there has been an inevitable focus on how we protect the NHS. As we look to the future, the question will be - how we renew the NHS?
Community rehabilitation is increasingly seen as critical to adapt to meet the future. Rehabilitation has a vital role in recovery from COVID-19, as well as being essential for longterm conditions, physical injuries and poor mental health. A health driven economy means preventing hospital admissions, supporting people to live independently, and promoting a healthier population.
The allied health professions, and not least physiotherapists, are the experts in rehabilitation. The CSP is one of over twenty professional bodies and third sector organisations in Scotland calling for the establishment of a ‘Right to Rehabilitation’. That change requires the right workforce, with the right leadership, capable of delivering the necessary investment. But community rehabilitation is starting from a low base of under-investment prior to the pandemic, and rebuilding must start now.
The publication of the Scottish Government’s Rehabilitation Framework offers a vision of a more responsive, and integrated approach. The question remains – how do we get from where we are, to where we should be? The slow pace of remobilisation is a warning that the potential for rehabilitation is yet to be realised. More than an aspiration, rehabilitation must be a government priority, if our health care is to emerge better and stronger.
This piece was sponsored by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.
Kenryck Lloyd-Jones is the CSP Public Affairs Manager for Scotland.