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NHS 'slow to manage chronic pain'

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Many British patients are receiving inadequate chronic pain management, a report has revealed.

The Pain Proposal European Consensus Report shows that people in the UK have to wait three years on average to get a diagnosis and a further three years for adequate management plans - twice as long as some European countries.

Chronic pain, which affects one in five people in Europe, costs the NHS £69m every year with 4.6m GP appointments for complaints such as back pain, joint problems and arthritis.

In Italy, France and Belgium people receive the necessary treatment in half the time it takes to get it right in Britain.

The study suggests that chronic pain is not being taken seriously enough in the UK, with more than 50% of sufferers questioned believing people doubt the existence of the condition. Over a quarter of people surveyed had been accused of using it as an easy excuse to get out of work.

But the research noted that sufferers indicated the condition impedes their ability to work for over a third of the day, while 40% of people are unable to work.

The report has been developed in consultation with over 50 experts including doctors, policy experts and patient group representatives from 15 European countries.


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Readers' comments (1)

  • Having just completed a work based learning observation of a Pain Management Programme at my trust, I have spoken to all the patients taking part and the common sumary from them is that they wish the PMP had been run alongside the consultations to seek the cause of their pain. Since they had often found that there was no curative option and then been offered the programme as a last resort which had led them to believe it was likely to be of little benefit and was because the medical profession did not believe their pain and were fobbing them off. They all reported that they had gained a great deal from the programme and felt if offered earlier would have prevented them getting so stressed and depressed and socially isolated. Prehaps if this intervention was offered earlier people's pain might be lessened as their quality of life and self management developed. Putting the patient in control of their pain at the earliest possible time would prehaps ease pressure on resources and promote healthy lifestyles in people with Long Term Conditions.

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