Rehabilitation services

Guidance for commissioners of rehabilitation services for people with complex mental health needsThis guide is about the commissioning of good quality mental health interventions and services for people with complex and longer term problems to support them in their recovery. It has been updated in November 2016.


It should be of value to:

  • Health and Wellbeing Boards who will have a key role in transforming health and care and achieving better population health and wellbeing through their responsibility for preparing Joint Strategic Needs Assessments, which take account of the current and future health and social care needs of the entire population through Joint Strategic Asset Assessments and joint health and well-being strategies
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups and Local Authorities as they jointly lead the local healthcare system, including through their local Sustainability and Transformation footprints, Health and Wellbeing Boards and in collaboration with their communities
  • Other bodies who, through various contractual forms, take on commissioning and provision of services that span this patient group, such as Multispecialty Care Providers and Primary and Acute Care Systems, as outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View
  • The NHS Commissioning Board which holds to account the work of Clinical Commissioning Groups
  • Service providers including those in primary and secondary care, social care, local authorities and third-sector providers of supported accommodation and other services that promote social inclusion, including supported employment and other meaningful occupation
  • Public Health England as reducing mental disorder and promoting well-being is an important part of their role and also contributes to a range of other public health priorities, and
  • The Care Quality Commission and NHS Improvement in understanding ‘what good looks like’ in local mental health services, of which local rehabilitation services are an essential component.

By the end of this guide, readers should be more familiar with the concept of rehabilitation services and better equipped to understand the:

  • policy context for rehabilitation services
  • importance of joined up health and social care commissioning of rehabilitation services that take account of service user and carer views
  • importance of having a ‘whole system approach’ when commissioning mental health rehabilitation services
  • importance of having a “whole system approach” in the commissioning of mental health rehabilitation services
  • importance of providing a local rehabilitation care pathway for people with complex mental health needs that includes inpatient care, supported accommodation and vocational rehabilitation services and the range of providers required to deliver this
  • key components of a comprehensive rehabilitation service and the need for local tailoring of the rehabilitation care pathway to meet local need.