COVID-19 rehabilitation and recovery

Support for services helping those affected.

The rehabilitation and recovery of those who have had coronavirus (COVID-19) as well as those who have been affected by lockdown is to be supported through a new rehabilitation framework.

The framework will assist health boards as well as health and social care partnerships and independent and third sector health organisations with their planning for recovery and rehabilitation services following the pandemic.

It focuses on adults recovering from COVID-19 who have ongoing health problems, as well as those whose health has been affected by lockdown, including those who had treatment and procedures paused due to the outbreak.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“We know there is emerging evidence on the long-term effects of COVID-19 on people’s physical and mental health which is why it is vital that services supporting those who have been affected have rehabilitation and recovery plans in place.

“Our rehabilitation framework, which will be supported by the new National Advisory Board for Rehabilitation, will assist health boards, health and social care partnerships and independent and third sector organisations with this.

“It aims to build on good practice and capacity within the healthcare system and to explore innovative models, adopting a multi-disciplinary and multi-agency approach, to help ensure timely and flexible delivery of care and support to those who need it.

“In addition to this the Scottish Government is developing clinical guidelines for health care professionals to support people’s recovery and directly funding research into the long-term effects of COVID-19.”


Framework for Supporting People through Recovery and Rehabilitation during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic

The framework concentrates on three groups:

  • The rehabilitation of people who have had COVID-19 and as a result may present with symptoms such as cardiovascular, pulmonary and musculoskeletal deconditioning, emotional, neurological and cognitive symptoms such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, post intensive care syndrome, fatigue and pain.
  • The rehabilitation of those people where emerging evidence points to a negative impact as a consequence of the lockdown restrictions. This includes people who have been ‘shielding’; those ‘not shielding but at risk; and also those with additional vulnerabilities and their carers; those with musculoskeletal issues due to deconditioning and a lack of physical activity; those with pre-existing and emergent mental health and wellbeing issues; the potential exacerbation of specific conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • Ongoing and intensive prehabilitation and rehabilitation for people with long-term physical and mental health conditions, multiple illnesses and those who have been impacted from delayed diagnoses and scheduled treatments due to pausing of non-critical health services.

The National Advisory Board for Rehabilitation will be cross-sector, cross-agency and multi-disciplinary. It will be formed to provide expert advice to the Scottish Government and support leadership in NHS health boards, health and social care partnerships, local government, independent and third sector.

The Scottish Government is appointing a Professional Advisor for Allied Health Professions who will take a leadership and advisory role and will oversee the deployment of this plan across Scotland, feeding back to Ministers and policy officials on its implementation.


Media enquiries

Back to top