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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Half a million Scots with health conditions miss out on rehab


CHSS is calling for the Scottish Government to improve services for people with long-term conditions

A new report has revealed a mental health and rehabilitation crisis facing the one in five Scots that live with chest, heart and stroke conditions and long Covid.

The research, from Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS), indicates that of the 1.1 million people in Scotland living with these conditions, less than half (45%) had accessed NHS rehab services.

The research, which is based on a survey of more than 1850 people carried out this summer, also revealed:

  • Nearly half (47%) of respondents say there was support they needed but couldn’t access – physio, stroke rehab and mental health services were the most commonly cited,
  • 24% of people said they were not referred to rehab at all,
  • almost two thirds (65%) experienced some kind of difficulty in accessing services,
  • one in seven people (14%) said that waiting lists were a barrier to them accessing the services they need,
  • and more than two in five (43%) of people said their condition impacts on their mental health, 49% said their condition has affected their self-confidence, and 44% said it causes them anxiety and stress

CHSS is calling for the Scottish Government to improve services for people with long-term conditions and make sure they get the rehabilitation they are entitled to.

The Scottish Government’s National Advisory Board for Rehabilitation has stated that by the end of 2025 “all adults who require rehabilitation will have timely access to the right information and services. The CHSS research shows that it faces a significant challenge in closing the gap in order to meet that target.

Jane-Claire Judson, chief executive of CHSS, said: “The fact that so many Scots are being denied access to vital rehabilitation services is extremely distressing.

“Our latest One in Five research clearly shows that people living with chest, heart and stroke conditions and long Covid are in crisis. People are leaving hospital or receiving a diagnosis and they are scared and feel alone. They need to trust they will get the help they are entitled to so they can begin their recovery journey and get back to the life they love.”

CHSS is launching phase two of its No Life Half Lived strategy to increase support for people with its conditions. Its supported self-management and community recovery model helps people to live with and understand their condition, improve their overall health, get back to work, hobbies, and interests and ensure they need fewer NHS services.

The research found that people who have accessed CHSS services rated their health and wellbeing higher than those who hadn’t.

Judson added: “CHSS is there to support people to stay healthy and well at home for as long as possible. We are committed to dramatically increasing the number of people we deliver services to over the next five years to 150,000, reducing the pressure on the NHS. But when people miss out on the first step on their recovery journey – NHS rehab – that makes our job so much harder.

“We’re doing our bit, it’s only in working together that we can achieve this. We are calling on the NHS and Scottish Government to keep their promises to those living with long-term conditions and make essential services easily and immediately available.

“Together we can ensure that people with chest, heart, stroke and long Covid conditions can life full, happy lives.”



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