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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
May 19, 2009

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Rehabilitation standards to help assessment of providers

The UK Rehabilitation Council (UKRC) has introduced new standards

designed to protect the quality of care provided for people who require

clinical and vocational rehabilitation.

Launched on 19 May, the standards are the first set of documents to be written for lay people and are likely to be used widely during the commissioning process as a tool to assess the quality of providers of rehabilitation services. They are also the first standards to apply to companies that provide rehabilitation services.

Research published by the International Underwriting Association in 2007 suggested a strong consensus among insurers and lawyers representing injured people for measures to control the quality of rehabilitation care-providers and case managers. The sector has also seen the emergence of several new roles, such as rehabilitation consultant and counsellor, which have no formal definition or professional oversight.

Chair of the UKRC, Catherine McLoughlin, explained: “Private firms providing rehabilitation have improved the lives of tens of thousands of injured and unwell people. Unfortunately, a minority of these firms have under-delivered and over-charged, so undermining confidence in the whole concept. Our standards will strengthen the hand of customers and bona-fide care-providers.”

Safety minister Lord McKenzie congratulated the UKRC for its work in developing the guidelines: “The standards will be of value to employers in providing commissioners of rehabilitation services with the knowledge they need to ensure that suppliers employ people with the right professional qualifications, and that their work is ethical, proportionate, and fairly priced.”

Asked by SHP whether SMEs, which are often unable to access OH services, would also benefit from the standards, the minister replied: “I think they will, because the standards will help them judge the competence of providers and give them greater confidence in these services. There are parallels here with the issue of health and safety consultants. . . One of the biggest challenges is for companies to know who they should purchase services from.”

Extending his support for the standards, Nick Starling, director of general insurance and health at the Association of British Insurers, added: “There is a huge opportunity to improve productivity if we can get more businesses, especially SMEs, offering back-to-work benefits for their employees. What we would now like to see is a tax system that does not penalise firms for doing this.”

The standards are supported by two documents: one for people who use rehabilitation and another for those who purchase it. These set out the rights and responsibilities of all parties, including how to judge the hallmarks of a good rehabilitation provider and what questions to ask them.

The standards are available free via the link below.

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