Pablo uses patients’ first words and footsteps since injury or illness to call for universal access to rehabilitation

Pablo uses patients’ first words and footsteps since injury or illness to call for universal access to rehabilitation

A new billboard and digital radio campaign launched by creative agency Pablo and intensive care rehabilitation nurse Kate Tantam, calls for an end to the postcode lottery for NHS rehabilitation services that help people recover from the likes of car crashes, cancer or strokes. There is currently no guaranteed access to this vital care.

To highlight just how important rehab is, the Pablo team travelled to rehab centres, hospitals and intensive care units in Plymouth and documented a series of ‘patient firsts’ that were only possible thanks to rehabilitation. These ‘firsts’ include the first tentative footsteps or first halting words – monumental milestones for those lucky enough to receive specialist rehabilitation care.

Starting with patients’ ‘first steps', the patients’ feet were painted with safe, non-slip paint and their very first footsteps since their hospitalisation were captured on sheets of vinyl which have now been transformed and immortalised on billboard posters calling for rehab provision for all. Members of the public can actually see and touch the real footprints at poster sites throughout the UK.

And footsteps weren’t the only ‘firsts’ that were captured. In a powerful digital radio advert, a patient whose accident left them unable to speak, uses their faltering first words post-rehab to appeal to the public to support the campaign. The radio features voiceover and a call to action by Richard Hammond who relied on rehab to get back on his feet after a crash whilst filming Top Gear in 2006.

Pablo worked with patients like Paul, who suffered a motorbike accident that fractured his vertebrae, leaving him unable to walk; Adrian, whose sore toe led to leg amputation and Jo, a lover of the outdoors, who suffered a paralysing stroke while walking in the countryside.

The campaign is supported by more than 20 healthcare charities, royal colleges and professional bodies such as the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), the British Geriatric Society, Asthma+Lung UK and the Stroke Association who are all members of the Community Rehabilitation Alliance.

Rehabilitation, including Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech and language Therapy and Specialist Nutritional Support, plays a vital role in helping people recover after an accident or illness, such as a stroke, cancer or car crash. But shockingly, millions of people don’t have access to NHS rehab services in their area. What’s more, many of these people can’t afford to pay for private rehab services, creating huge economic inequality when it comes to recovery.

When patients don’t have access to rehab, it can slow or halt their recovery, damaging their quality of life and mental health and causing lasting disability, distress and deterioration of health. Quality rehab takes a multidisciplinary team effort, from physiotherapists, nurses, speech and language therapists, support workers, occupational therapists and psychologists, all playing a major role in a patient’s recovery.

The campaign directs people to, where they can sign a petition calling for rehab to be made available everywhere and for a named rehab lead to be appointed on every hospital trust and board in the UK.

Dan Watts, executive creative director at Pablo, said: “With one in two people expected to get cancer in their lifetime and one in six expected to suffer a stroke, more and more people are requiring rehab services. Far from being a niche issue, it affects us all, and it is a humbling experience to see the huge impact specialist rehabilitation experts like Kate can make. We hope people will see the campaign and sign the petition calling upon the Government to make rehab more universally available and a rehab representative to be appointed at every single hospital.”

The billboards are live in seven cities throughout the UK and the digital radio ads are being played nationwide. Some OOH Media has been donated by Jack Arts. Digital radio airtime was secured by YOU Agency.

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