Many of the specialist clinicians working as part of NRC Medical Experts are known as Consultants in Rehabilitation Medicine, Rehabilitation Consultants or Consultants in Neurological Rehabilitation.
Learn more about this vital role.

Though doctors are an essential part of any rehabilitation team, the UK has one of the lowest number of rehabilitation doctors in the developed world – just 0.2 per 100,000 per head of population when compared with 1.9 (Sweden), 2.0 (Germany), 2.9 (France) and 3.7 (Italy).

There is overwhelming evidence that rehabilitation provided by teams with appropriate expert knowledge and skills, who work collaboratively and include formal liaison or goal-setting meetings, have an active education programme, and engage families in the process, improve patient outcomes and often are very cost-effective. Consultants in Rehabilitation Medicine:

Training to become a Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine is specified by the Royal College of Physicians. After gaining a medical qualification, doctors go on to complete:

  • Foundation training (over two years)
  • Core level training in one discipline e.g. medicine, general practice, surgery, psychiatry (2-3 years)
  • Higher specialist training in Rehabilitation Medicine (4 years)

Highly experienced consultants

During their training, Consultants in Rehabilitation Medicine gain experience in neurological rehabilitation, spinal cord injuries, musculo-skeletal disorders and trauma rehabilitation, explored in-depth below:

Neurologically-based conditions constitute the largest single workload for inpatient rehabilitation services, and are responsible for much of the severe long-term disability in the community. Consultants are responsible for:

  • inpatients, outpatients, nursing home visits, ward referrals
  • acute conditions, adult-onset progressive conditions, and all conditions starting at birth or within childhood.
  • disorders affecting (primarily) the brain, the spinal cord, peripheral nerves (including traumatic damage) and muscles (muscular dystrophies)
  • prolonged disorders or consciousness
  • challenging behaviours
  • functional neurological disorders

The management of spinal cord injuries has been organised separately for many years, although gradually services are becoming part of more general rehabilitation services. Consultants are responsible for:

  • inpatients, outpatients, nursing homes, acute referral wards (e.g. trauma)
  • acute phase, from initial assessment; rehabilitation phase; long-term care and management including advising on patients admitted to hospital with other health conditions
  • tetraplegia (cervical spinal cord injury), paraplegia, and cauda equina damage; complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries
  • people needing ventilatory support
  • sexual functioning

Musculo-skeletal disorders (which in this context includes chronic spinal pain) are probably the most common disabling conditions and although patients with these conditions rarely need inpatient services, they probably constitute the majority of community-based patients. There is also a close link to trauma, but trauma has been separated here to reflect the recent setting up of special trauma rehabilitation services which also cover burns, acute spinal cord injury, soft-tissue trauma, trunk trauma etc. Consultants are responsible for:

  • outpatients and community services (including exercise prescriptions)
  • clinical experience with chronic pain services, domiciliary services, specialist orthopaedic
  • rheumatological services
  • services for functional disorders such as fibromyalgia and hypermobility syndrome

Each of the Major Trauma Centres in the UK should have at least one full-time or equivalent Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine. Consultants are responsible for:

  • outpatients, acute inpatients, domiciliary/community services
  • assessing acutely injured patients from a rehabilitation perspective using the trauma rehabilitation prescription
  • burns
  • neurological and general intensive care
  • major skeletal trauma
  • acute spinal cord injury
  • traumatic limb loss
  • hyperacute inpatient rehabilitation
  • seeing children and teenagers

Make an enquiry

To enquire about appointing an expert witness for your case or a Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine to oversee a rehabilitation programme, request a call back or contact us directly.