To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent steps his Department has taken to encourage (a) understanding and (b) effective treatment of people with chronic pain conditions within the NHS.
The routine assessment and management of pain is a required competency of all healthcare professionals. Many patients with chronic pain can be successfully supported and managed through routine primary and secondary care pain management services. Approaches to treatment are not all pharmacological; education in self-management techniques to aid symptom control may also be appropriate for some patients.
It is important that patients with the most serious pain management issues are able to access specialist care. In such circumstances a patient may be referred to a specialised pain management service where they can be cared for by an expert multidisciplinary team, access specialised pain management programmes and receive more complex drug treatments. Such services are commissioned nationally by NHS England as part of its remit to deliver specialised services.
To support clinicians in the management of pain, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has published several clinical guidelines on the treatment and management of different types of pain, such as migraine, back pain and neuropathic pain, as well as technical guidance on specific treatments, such as the use of opiates in palliative care and deep brain stimulation for chronic pain.