The Independent Neurorehabilitation Providers Alliance (INPA) provides a collective voice for private providers of neurorehabilitation services across the country.

Chair Lesley Pope, who was appointed in December and has spent recent months visiting and liaising with alliance members, says raising awareness of the power of rehabilitation is a key focus in the year ahead. 

This, she says, is crucial in the aftermath of the the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Acquired Brain Injury’s landmark Time for Change report, published last year.

In an interview which will be published in the next print edition of NR Times, she says: “In the months ahead, the membership will continue to focus on driving excellence in neurorehabilitation; but also on raising awareness of neurorehabilitation and the contribution of the private sector, on the back of the APPG report.

“The report highlighted how woefully short of beds we are in the UK, but there are private providers who have beds, and in a lot of parts of the country the contribution they can make is not fully recognised.”

The organisation is encouraging members to share knowledge with each other and will also introduce member-run training sessions to raise the profile of neurorehabilitation.

“This is really about providing a forum for members to share and collaborate for the benefit of those needing neurorehabilitation services – and empowering them to get out into their local communities to raise awareness and develop relationships,” Ms Pope says.

“We are hoping to provide training to members with regard to promoting neurorehabilitation to those who commission services locally; as well as topic-specific training to develop skills of treating teams and carers.

“Our members’ biggest concern is being able to provide a service, quickly, to people that need it. Some of their frustrations are the length of time it can take from when somebody is referred to them to actually getting them admitted and the funding approved, and the ongoing battle to keep that funding. We’re working with our members with regards to raising the profile with commissioners.”

Despite these issues, recruitment seems relatively stable across the sector, reports Ms Pope, whohas visited 50 units managed by INPA’s 18 provider members since taking up her role.  

She says: “These units are dedicated to what they do and are able to train and retain their staff. Few members reported recruitment as an issue at the time I visited and it’s not something that’s been raised directly at INPA meetings.

“What I did see, across the sector, is that the passion and commitment amongst the staff I met is life-affirming; they are very much patient-focused and wanting to make a change to that person’s quality of life and outlook, maximising their potential.”

Ms Pope originally trained as a speech and language therapist and was previously director of rehabilitation services at HCA Healthcare UK.