A collective of health charities and professional bodies who are committed to delivering the Right to Rehab in Scotland.

What does a Right to Rehab mean?

The Right to Rehab is the next major health reform that needs to take place in Scotland.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines rehabilitation as “appropriate measures, including through peer support, to enable persons with disabilities to attain and maintain their maximum independence, full physical, mental, social and vocational ability, and full inclusion and participation in all aspects of life.” Find out more about what the WHO says about rehabilitation (this link will take you away from our website).

Rehabilitation helps people do more than just survive their condition – it helps them really live. It is vital to people living with long-term conditions or recovering after an accident, operation or illness, in order they can live as well – and as independently – as possible.

In most cases, people’s rehabilitation will require a period of intervention by health professionals. It will also often extend beyond that treatment and into long-term support within communities. At that point rehabilitation can take many forms, and is determined by people’s needs and their goals.

Without the rehabilitation they need, people are at risk of readmission to hospital, likely to need repeat visits to GPs, need additional care from their family or providers, and may struggle to return to work or live their lives to the full.

What is our objective?

We want every political party in Scotland committed to delivering a Right to Rehab. The strategic shift in recent years towards personalised, community-based services must be matched by change on the ground. We must take action now in order to meet demands on health and social care created by an increasing older population, often with multiple conditions. We are calling for:

  1. A Right to Rehab which ensures that everyone has access to rehab when needed, and no-one is excluded by a ‘no rehab potential’.
  2. People’s needs to be met locally by having the right workforce and professional leadership.
  3. The Right to Rehab to be incorporated in a new national Health and Social Care Strategy, placing it at the heart of integrated health and social care.

Letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport

On 17 September 2020, the Right to Rehab Coalition wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman MSP, to introduce our work and calling for the adoption of a Right to Rehab.

To contact the organisers of the Right to Rehab coalition, please email – 

Elinor Jayne, Head of Influencing – Sue Ryder elinor.jayne@suerydercare.org

Kenryck Lloyd-Jones, Public Affairs & Policy Manager – Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Scotland  ljonesk@csp.org.uk

Katherine Byrne, Policy Manager – Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland katherine.byrne@chss.org.uk

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The ALLIANCE manifesto calls for forward-thinking, far-reaching action in health and social care.

  • Nearly half of all adults in Scotland live with at least one long term condition.[i]
  • Around one fifth of the Scottish population define themselves as disabled.[ii]
  • The number of unpaid carers in Scotland increased to 1.1 million during COVID-19.[iii]
  • Third sector health and care organisations deliver vital services across Scotland and are an essential partner in local and national policy.

For a fairer and healthier Scotland, the next Scottish Government must support and work with disabled people, people living with long term conditions, unpaid carers and the third sector.

Ahead of the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections, the ALLIANCE called for all political parties to make the following commitments:

Recovery and Renewal – Learn from everyone’s experiences and guarantee no one is left behind.

  • Commission an independent, person centred inquiry into the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on health and social care in Scotland.
  • Appoint an independent Scottish Commissioner for Older People.
  • Create a rolling Community Wellbeing Fund in every Integrated Joint Board area for third sector health and care organisations to reduce social isolation and support post-pandemic recovery.
  • Provide additional sustainable funding to the health and social care sector to mitigate the negative impacts of Brexit on disabled people, people living with long term conditions, unpaid carers and the third sector.
  • Appoint an independent panel of people with lived experience to inform and advise the Scottish Government’s work on fuel poverty.

People at the Centre – Ensure everyone gets the right support, in the right place, at the right time.

  • Adopt a Digital Choice approach to mitigate digital exclusion and guarantee people parity between digital and non-digital health and care services.
  • Prioritise appointments of Community Links Practitioners to every GP practice in Scotland’s most deprived areas.
  • Create a ‘Right to Rehab’ to ensure everyone has access to rehab when needed and no-one is excluded by a ‘no rehab potential’.
  • Increase investment in community-based mental health and wellbeing services and guarantee people access to timely, good quality support.
  • Fully incorporate housing in health and social care integration, for a more joined up approach to prevention and the right to health.

Social Care – Reform social care as an investment in people, society and the economy.

  • Appoint a dedicated Minister for Social Care responsible for implementing the recommendations of the Independent Review of Adult Social Care and delivering an equalities and rights based adult social care reform programme.
  • Increase the social care budget to ensure people have meaningful choice and control over good quality support and the third sector workforce enjoy Fair Work.
  • Remove all non-residential social care charges.

Human Rights – Firmly root Scottish law and people’s experiences in human rights.

  • Implement the statutory framework of the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership and legislate for full and direct incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People into Scots law.
  • Reform mental health law and policy to align with international human rights standards on equality and non-discrimination, participation, accountability and transparency.
  • Adopt a human rights budget work approach to Scotland’s national budget, to embed fairness, transparency and people’s participation in resource allocation, financial decision making, monitoring and accountability.

Social Security – Deliver a progressive and ambitious model of social security.

  • Initiate an independent review of social security for disabled people and create a world-leading system, according to the six principles detailed in the Scottish Campaign on Rights to Social Security’s ‘Beyond a Safe and Secure Transition’ report.
  • Increase the earnings threshold and remove restrictions on full-time education for unpaid carers seeking to access social security.

Climate Change – Put people, health and social care at the centre of climate change action.

  • Create a £25m climate emergency innovation fund for third and independent sector social care organisations.
  • Invest in clinically safe, environmentally friendly PPE and alternatives to single-use plastics used by disabled people and people living with long term conditions.
  • Guarantee sustainable investment in accessible travel for people who access and deliver health and care services is included in action to reduce the impact of transport on climate change.

Download the ALLIANCE 2021 Scottish Election manifesto at the link below. You can also watch the full launch event with our political panel.


[i] Scottish Health Survey 2019 – Scottish Government, September 2020

[ii] Disability Equality – One Scotland

[iii] Carers Week 2020 Research Report: The rise in the number of unpaid carers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak – Carers UK, June 2020

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