We know this song. If the government is to make a difference by plugging rehab, it needs to put its money where its mouth is, says Andy Cook
When the government called for rehabilitation to be the central plank in a strategy to ameliorate the employers' liability (EL) insurance crisis, there was a sense of muted joy in our industry.
We all know that rehabilitaion is the economical and ethical way to reduce the EL burden of the British industry, but years of preaching has only got us so far. So even with the government now publicly plugging the joy of rehab, the industry was rightly sceptical.
Bearing all this in mind, I was delighted to find out earlier this week (see page 3) that the government is keen to be the promotor of rehabilitation rather than leaving it at the door of the insurance industry, which has been banging the drum for years without much noticeable headway being made.
Under the new plans, workers suffering injuries will be referred for rehabiltation from accident and emergency units at hospitals or through GPs. For those workers not covered by insurance, the NHS picks up the bill. For those covered by insurance, NHS will charge accordingly.
It seems that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) was concerned that a two-tier system would emerge: those covered by their employer's policy would get rehab and those whose employers have large deductibles would, perhaps, not receive rehab.
While all of this sounds fine, anyone who has tried to receive physiotherapy through the NHS knows that waiting lists can be long and so we are back to square one.
While the DWP rhetoric is good, it needs to be backed up by investment in NHS funding for rehabilitation services. Let's hope that when the full details of the EL review are unveiled at the end of this month, plans for new resources are unveiled too.