Some patients are facing "considerable barriers" to recovery after illness or injury, leading physiotherapists have warned.
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) said community rehabilitation services can "give people their lives back" but that access to services in the community can depend on where a person lives.
Too often "the ball drops" the moment a patient leaves hospital, it said.
The CSP said the NHS is wasting some of the lives it saves because patients are not able to access high-quality rehabilitation services to continue their recovery and regain their independence.
The society is campaigning to improve rehabilitation services for patients leaving hospital after illness or injury.
Prof Karen Middleton (pictured), chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said: "The NHS does truly extraordinary things to keep people alive but then too often drops the ball when a person leaves hospital.
"This is grossly unfair on the patient, who has survived a traumatic ordeal only to discover that they face considerable barriers to making the fullest recovery possible.
"Too many people are left facing a distressing future dependent on health and social care when access to high-quality rehab could have made an enormous difference to their life.
"It is a hidden scandal because it takes place in people's homes, away from the public glare which so often falls on hospital pressures.
"But it's one that as a nation we must address to stop the system wasting so many lives for entirely avoidable reasons."
The CSP and other organisations have called on the Health Select Committee to launch an inquiry into provision of community-based rehabilitation services.
The CSP has released a new video (see below) following the journey a fictional patient to see what could happen with or without care.
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