Lesley Pope, who originally trained as a speech and language therapist, and was previously director of rehabilitation services at HCA Healthcare UK, has been appointed chair of the organisation.

Lesley (pictured left) has been working with INPA since August, helping to revise inspection standards andundertaking facility visits to review current member’s services against new criteria.

She says: “During the last few months I have visited many units managed by INPA members and have gained a unique insight into the breadth of services provided by members and a greater understanding of the ongoing challenges they face.

“I am therefore honoured and excited to accept the role of chair of INPA in the coming year and to have the opportunity to work with its members to continue to raise awareness not only of neurorehabilitation in general but also the vital contribution made by the independent service providers.”

Lesley takes up her new post at a pivotal time for private neuro-rehab providers. The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Acquired Brain Injury recently underlined the national shortage of neuro-rehab beds as a major challenge in the push to better handle brain injuries in the UK.

In its ‘Time for Change’ report, it estimated that 14,600 neuro-rehab inpatient beds are needed to meet the annual caseload of around 300,000 ABI admissions. Currently there are only 4,600, including 1800 in the independent sector. The private sector players represented by INPA are under increased pressure to help fill this shortfall in services.

Another concern of the APPG is the current shortage of neuro-rehab personnel and the general poor understanding of the role of neuro-rehab in the wider healthcare context.

One of the recommendations, which could potentially be delivered with the support of INPA and its members, is to: “Conduct a national review of neuro-rehab to ensure provision is adequate and consistent across the UK.”

INPA describes itself as a group of independent specialist health and social care providers who “share the common goal of ensuring the delivery of excellent care in neurorehabilitation”.

It was established in 2004 under the leadership of Professor Mike Barnes to form a strong voice in the sector, ensuring that neuro-rehab is delivered in quality environments, by trained and experienced staff in a caring way to assist the rehabilitation process.

It recently extended its membership to associate providers, partners who offer specialist services to providers and community providers.