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RT @fibrosupportIRL: What amazing weather we are having this weekend. It's great for us to get to meet some of our fibromyalgia support Ire…

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Pain Summit 2011

{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=7|imageid=66|displayname=0|displaydetail=0|displaydownload=0|displaybuttons=0|displaydescription=0|overlib=0|piclens=0|float=right|displayimgrating=0} I attended the Pain Summit held at Westminster Halls, London with a friend and fellow sufferer of chronic pain. Our invite to the summit was from Dr Ollie Hart from Sheffield and came about by being involved in the commissioning of pain services in Sheffield.

I am part of a group of patients who initially went on a patient learning journey, this process allows the patient to realise that we, as patients, are of value to the medical professionals in being the experts we can have a input on the best services that can be delivered to patients who use the Pain Clinic in Sheffield.

The summit was organised by four organisations Chronic Pain Policy Coalition, the British Pain Society, the Faculty of Pain Medicine and the Royal College of GPs. The summit was the first to be held and a step towards raising awareness of chronic pain. To identify what needs to be done to improve services, education, treatment and commissioning of pain management services. “Eight million people live with chronic pain this can have a devastating effect on lives in every direction. In some patients pain can be easy to treat with simple analgesics for others treatment can be more difficult.

Achieving the best outcome for a person in pain depends on good and early assessment looking at every aspect of their condition and needs. The services for pain management at the moment are patchy and require a big improvement. Chronic pain can be caused by a range of conditions including arthritis and musculoskeletal pain, although the root cause can often be extremely difficult to diagnose.

The meeting began with an introduction by the chair, Deborah Hall, a former BBC newsreader who gave us a outline on how the day would run.

Speaking at the opening of this important event was, Earl Howe the Under Secretary of State for Quality, Department of Health, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh the NHS Medical Director and Dr John Goddard, Consultant in Paediatric Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine at Sheffield Children's Hospital.

Further contributors and sufferers of chronic pain were, Holly Sturgess, a young girl of 17 who suffers from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Keira Jones, a PHD student with chronic wrist pain. Both gave us an insight into their difficulties and the impact of living with their pain on a daily basis. Kiera, as yet, has had no diagnosis for her condition.

There followed a panel discussion on the impact of pain on individuals and Society, based on questions submitted to the Chair earlier.

The next speaker was Professor Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work. I found this speech particularly interesting as it was related to helping people to continue working whilst living with chronic pain.

Dame Carol has recently conducted an independent review for the government on sickness absence, which was published November 2011.

Jo Cummings, the helplines manager for Arthritis Care gave an overview of how patients can have a difficult experience finding out about health services.

General Practitioner, Dr Ollie Hart, spoke about primary care and Professor Richard Langord, President of the British Pain Society spoke about Secondary care services.

A further panel discussion, which centered on a selection of submitted questions, was then held.

We had a coffee break which was followed by workshop which was split into groups I was in the group for Quality Commissioning. We discussed aspects of Sir Bruce Keogh’s opening speech in which he stated that it took on average 2.8 years for sufferers to get a satisfactory diagnosis in the UK, compared to 1.9 years in Europe.

My group sought reasons for this difference and wondered why UK procedures in getting a diagnosis were falling short. The group thought that a study to determine exactly what was being done differently in Europe should be made.

My friend, Sue and I were the only patient representatives in our group of about 30 people, which was broadly made up of healthcare professionals, commissioners and policy makers.

Dr Hart led our group and asked Sue and I to speak about our learning journey and involvement, as patients, in the commissioning process. I think the group appreciated our input and could see the benefit of a greater patient involvement.

After an excellent lunch we went back into the workshops for a while where we were asked specific questions related to back pain and what might be done to improve services and at what cost.

Chronic pain is a huge financial burden to our economy. The commissioners need more evidence of relevant issues together with improved guidelines as current procedures are falling short making improvements difficult to achieve.

This workshop explored what could, and should, be done to convince commissioners that chronic pain is a real priority for the population.
Solutions and outcomes must be identified to allow for the development of a realistic and successful commissioning plan for the management of chronic pain.

We had an afternoon break and then all went back into the main room and had some presentations relating to initiatives to improve services and conditions for those living with chronic pain.

Unfortunately Sue and I had to leave the meeting during this discussion as we had to get our train home.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable and informative day. We both felt we had learned so much and are wanting to continue our involvement wherever and whenever we can.

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