The Chronic Pain Policy Coalition (CPPC) in the UK gets good support from politicians, doctors, pharma and patients’ groups. On 7th December, Marian Nicholson of Pain UK and PAE attended a meeting organised in the House of Commons Jubilee Room, to discuss “Chronic Pain in Primary Care”.
CPPC co-chair, Dr Martin Johnson, a GP, reported on a survey of 1,027 chronic pain patients and their interaction with GPs. A few of the results from the survey, done by the TalkHealth website:
- 43% had had their pain medication reviewed in the last 6 months, but 25% of patients had never had it reviewed at all.
- 83% reported experiencing side effects form their pain medication
- 51% do not feel that their GP understands how to treat chronic pain.
Another speaker told us how poor drugs are overall in treating chronic Pain. Pete Moore of Pain Toolkit (http://www.paintoolkit.org/) agreed with her. They both emphasised that patients should be introduced to pain management programmes immediately and not have it suggested as a last resort when no drug or other treatment has helped.
From Pain Concern, a patient support group, Heather Wallace explained how patients report how incredibly valuable these are. She mentioned that doctors reported reluctance to suggest that patients access support groups because they did not know what information the patient might be given and that support groups were not necessarily permanent, as they rely on volunteer ‘staff’. When networking later with Heather, Chris Hughes and Jean Gavin, all from Pain Concern, we asked ourselves when GPs would realise that they can no longer control the information that their patients see: no use preventing patients from accessing a patient support group when information on the web is easily accessible and not always accurate.