Millions of people are missing out on rehab after heart attacks and cancer, a new report suggests.
Leading physiotherapists said that some groups are particularly affected and warned that without rehabilitation people can get “stuck in a downward spiral”.
In a new report the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) warns that “some communities face particular barriers”.
People who face “systemic discrimination and marginalisation” and those who live in poor communities are more likely to miss out on rehab, the report states.
The health body said that Governments must improve access to high-quality rehabilitation services or risk “further entrenching health inequalities faced by millions”.
The CSP said that people are living longer with long-term conditions and after cancer or heart disease.
When people have a long-term condition their future health and wellbeing “makes a significant difference”, according to the CSP’s new report.
But the authors wrote: “It should be universally available as an unmissable part of treatment. But currently millions miss out.”
“Without rehabilitation people can be stuck in a downward spiral where having one long-term condition leads to other health conditions, including further long-term conditions, with loss of mobility and poor mental health and multiple medication regimes.
“Ensuring everyone who needs rehabilitation can access it can reverse this downward spiral.”
The authors called for transformation of rehabilitation services so all people can have access to high quality service.
Professor Karen Middleton, chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said: “Rehabilitation services have been under-resourced for decades and were not designed coherently in the first place.
“This has exacerbated poor health outcomes, particularly for people from marginalised groups.
“As it stands, it’s not only the individual who suffers. Without adequate access to rehabilitation, health conditions worsen to the point where more and more pressure is eventually piled on struggling local health systems and other public services.
“We desperately need a modernised recovery and rehabilitation service that adequately support patients following a health crisis and prevents other conditions developing.”
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