Lisa Cameron – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Lisa Cameron on 2016-01-19.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to improve the care of, and better respond to, NHS patients with chronic pain.

Jane Ellison

Health Education England is responsible for providing national leadership on education, training and workforce development in the National Health Service in England. The professional regulators, such as the General Medical Council, set the standards and outcomes for education and training and approve training curricula. Higher Education Institutions are responsible for ensuring the programmes they provide allow students to meet these standards and outcomes. Royal colleges, such as the Royal College of General Practitioners also have responsibility for developing curricula for doctors and nurses, in particular postgraduate curricula. This process ensures that healthcare professionals have the knowledge, skills and attitudes to provide high quality patient care, including in pain management, which 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. It is important that patients with the most serious pain management issues are able to access specialist care. A patient whose pain is particularly difficult to manage may be referred to a specialised pain management service. Under the care of an expert multidisciplinary team, patients may be offered specialised pain management programmes specifically and more complex drug treatments.

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 and back 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.