Rehabilitation Medicine

Oxford and Reading offer a comprehensive high quality personalised training programme for anyone wishing to train in Rehabilitation Medicine. The four-year programme ensures each trainee has a strong foundation in the general knowledge and skills required in the speciality. It covers all obligatory areas: neurological rehabilitation, musculo-skeletal rehabilitation, spinal cord injury rehabilitation and rehabilitation for people with limb loss (prosthetics). It also gives experience and training in most aspects of assistive technology such as specialised wheelchairs, posture management, orthotics, communication aids and environmental controls. Trauma rehabilitation training should be available once the consultant post is filled. Trainees may spend up to eight months gaining additional experience in their preferred area of interest and will have the opportunity to gain some experience in several of many associated areas of clinical practice such as palliative care.

What is rehabilitation?

Many medical students and junior doctors have little or no exposure to or knowledge of rehabilitation, so a brief introduction is given here.

Rehabilitation is an area of healthcare that is concerned with managing the consequences of disease. This requires good knowledge about the disease, and the medical knowledge required is high; not all presented diagnoses are correct and patients develop new problems.

The emphasis is on working within a multi-disciplinary team and with the patient and family to help the patient achieve the level of functional activities that they want and that are possible given the circumstances. In addition rehabilitation has a vital role in minimising pain and distress. The goal is to achieve the best quality of life possible for the patient.

The key skills needed by all members of the team including doctors are being able to:

  • analyse a complex situation to identify as far as possible the causes and the factors that can be changed identify with the patient appropriate short-, medium- and long-term goals
  • negotiate, particularly in case conferences (goal-setting meetings)
  • communicate with and relate to all parties (team members, patients, families, other
    organisations, commissioning organisations, managers etc)

It is a very challenging speciality intellectually, emotionally and personally but carries great rewards particularly because it is a speciality where one still has a long-term relationship with most patients. Anyone interested in reading more can read material at the following websites:

Clinical Rehabilitation; the leading UK specialist journal free to members of British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine

Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians’ Training Board website: Rehabilitation curriculum etc

The Training Programme Directors are Dr Susannah Brain ( and Dr Ahmad Saif