It warns that failing to provide these services can have devastating consequences for people’s lives, and bring greater costs for the NHS and social care systems.

Community rehabilitation provides vital support for patients outside hospital to allow them to continue their recovery from emergencies such as stroke and heart failure, or to enable them to manage conditions such as lung disease and arthritis.

But a new report – published by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and Sue Ryde – warns of “patchy provision” or people with MS, stroke and other conditions.

As a result, many are missing out on care that can make a huge difference to their health and quality of life.

Emma Hardy, Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle, said: “The NHS does a fantastic job of treating and caring for patients and it is important that this care continues and is carried over into rehabilitation and ongoing care for people with long-term health conditions.

“The government needs to ensure that proper funding is provided to our NHS so essential at-home care for patients can be provided. It is often just as important as the treatment received in hospital”

Steve Brine, Conservative MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford, said: “As a former public health minister, I know that the NHS does so much good for the people of this country, but I also know that rehab matters, and this is an area where real improvement is needed. It is vital that people get the rehabilitation they need, or the NHS will pay the price in the long term.”

MPs attending an event in parliament this week watched a virtual reality film featuring Elizabeth Printer, who suffered a debilitating stroke at the age of 46 in 2011.

She lost her career and family as a result of insufficient after-care.

Elizabeth said: “The NHS saved my life in an emergency, but then failed to help me recover any of the life I once had. 

“I had to teach myself to walk again – I wanted to get well for my daughters, but there was no support or guidance about how I could do this. 

“I just needed to have the right rehab, treatment, and love and care, but it was never there.’

According to the report, 44 per cent of people who said they did not receive sufficient rehabilitation after diagnosis or discharge from hospital felt “abandoned by the system”.

It says only 29 per cent felt they received completely sufficient rehabilitation, and showed stark differences between the experiences of those who did receive it and those who missed out.

The report also shows:

  • Only 10 per cent of those with insufficient aftercare returned to their normal pre-condition life, compared with 42 per cent of those who received the right treatment;
  • 40 per cent of those that received insufficient care said their mental health had worsened – while only nine per cent of those with sufficient care suffered a negative impact on their mental health;
  • 46 per cent of those who had insufficient aftercare said they continue to have long-term reduced mobility and problems doing everyday things, compared with 19 per cent of those that did receive sufficient care;
  • 85 per cent of people with lung disease deemed eligible for pulmonary rehabilitation are not referred for it;
  • Almost half (44 per cent) of people with neurological conditions don’t have access to community rehabilitation.

The UK’s ageing population is increasing the demand for rehab – over the next 17 years it is projected that the number of people aged 65 and above will rise by more than 40 per cent, to over 16 million.

The CSP’s chief executive, Karen Middleton, said: “Everyone should get the rehab they need to live life to the full and be as independent as possible.

“It is essential that in the next decade we witness a radical transformation in provision to ensure no-one misses out.

“It’s not acceptable that we are missing opportunities to improve lives.”

Pamela Mackenzie, executive director of neurological services at Sue Ryder, said: “The moment someone acquires a life limiting or life changing neurological condition, everything changes for them and their family.

“Tailored rehabilitation is paramount when it comes to slowing down deterioration associated with conditions such as Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis which can prevent unnecessary or premature admission to long term care facilities, allowing them to spend more time in their own homes with their families. 

“It is also absolutely critical for people with acquired brain injuries to receive appropriate post-acute or slow stream rehabilitation in order to give them the very best chance of regaining their functional ability and improving their quality of life in the long term.

“This research confirms that there are significant inconsistencies and people are missing out on vital rehabilitation. Now is the time for the Government to end the postcode lottery and ensure the appropriate rehabilitation is available to every person who needs it.”

RCOT’s assistant director – professional practice, Karin Orman said: “We need a national approach that structures rehabilitation around people, allowing them to fully participate in life and keeping them connected with family, friends and their community.

“Having so many national organisations coming together to highlight the value of rehabilitation is an important first step. We now need a commitment from the relevant government departments, commissioners and providers to ensure rehabilitation is available for everyone who needs it.”

Read the full report here.