Four leading health organisations have published a report calling on providers and the government to do more to help those suffering with long-term pain.
According to the Royal College of GPs, the British Pain Society, the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition and the Faculty of Pain Medicine, millions of people across the UK suffer with chronic pain because current levels of care fall well below adequate standards.
The report, entitled Putting Pain on the Agenda: The Report of the First English Pain Summit, calls for authorities to come up with clearer guidelines both on how pain should be identified, and how health providers should treat it.
The public should also be made aware of the damaging impact on long-term pain, not just on the individual, but on the economy and on society. According to the report, around seven million days at work are lost every year due to people suffering from chronic pain.
The report, which has been welcomed by Health Minister Earl Howe and Linda Riordan MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Chronic Pain Group, was launched in Parliament on Wednesday.
Speaking ahead of the report launch, Dr Beverly Collett, chair of the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition and Consultant in Pain Management & Anaesthesia at Leicester Royal Infirmary NHS Trust, said: “There is broad consensus across the healthcare community that we need new, national guidelines in place to ensure improved levels of care. Chronic pain is not a niche issue; it is a high street disease that affects millions of people across the UK, and has for too long been kept on the sidelines of the healthcare policy debate.
“This report shines a much-needed spotlight on the flaws in the existing care infrastructure and, most importantly, lays out a clear plan for improvement.”