More action required for chronic pain management
Wednesday 12th January, 2011
A new study has revealed many people suffering long-term pain are in the dark about how to manage their pain and the potential side-effects of medicines.
As many as eight million people in the UK are believed to suffer with chronic pain and the Patients Association ‘Public Attitudes to Pain’ report says the Government must take action to help patients understand how to manage their pain effectively.
The study of around 4,400 people found a third of the 1,200 who suffer with long-term pain were not taking prescribed medications or did not understand how to take the medicine while 57 per cent were unaware of the potential side effects of the drugs they were taking.
The report also found there was only one pain specialist for every 32,000 chronic pain patients with a quarter of people surveyed unaware that specialist pain services exist. Only 23 per cent had been referred to a specialist.
Long-term pain is thought to account for 4.9 million sick days per year with an estimated £5 billion cost to the economy.
“This report reveals the shocking disparity of pain management services across the UK. With a lack of robust information, patients must rely on GPs and healthcare professionals who are often not equipped to deal with the specific problems that chronic pain can present,” said Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association.
“We need better information for patients to be able to make informed choices and complete decisions about their care.”