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The new NHS Commissioning Guidance for Rehabilitation has been released which has been welcomed by the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT).

This guidance, published by NHS England, is intended for use by clinical commissioning groups to support them in commissioning rehabilitation services for their local population. It may also be of use to others with an interest in rehabilitation.

BIRT’s Clinical Director, Dr Sue Copstick, said “We particularly welcome the Ten Top Tips, which encourage commissioners take a strategic approach to invest to save, and to work with services to identify common outcome measures.”

There are several ways that rehabilitation intervention can deliver savings within the context of health and social care. For example, it can:

  • enable a person to return to work, get into work or stay in work
  • reduce the cost of nursing, residential and social care
  • reduce the risk of falls
  • reduce the associated costs of mental health illness
  • reduce the costs associated with diabetic care
  • reduce length-of-stay costs
  • realise the potential of children and young people

Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Chief Professional Officer for England believes that this document is “…best practice across England that you will be able to use in a CCG to actually really understand how to commission the best rehabilitation services for your population. It will also enable you to benchmark against other areas in England to see how you are performing in comparison.”

Different areas of rehabilitation are covered in the document such as acquired brain injury(ABI), learning disabilities and neurology. This guidance states clearly what standards are expected in rehabilitation, ensuring that there is a standard level of care that needs to be apparent in each service.

The Guidance asks the question, ‘Why commission rehabilitation?’ and then supports the opinion why rehabilitation is a key use of public expenditure and what benefits it makes to an individual and to the NHS.

The Guidance also outline compelling evidence that rehabilitation services ‘can deliver long-term cost reductions and add value and equality across the health and care system’.