The latest audit report was published on 29 October and reveals some shortcomings in the delivery and availability of pain services to people in England and Wales. It is the third installment of the audit, secured by the British Pain Society in 2009, and is focused on the safety of pain services and patient outcomes following specialist care.
The audit revealed that the provision of multidisciplinary pain services seemed to be improving, but that one-third of providers failed to provide the most basic multidisciplinary care and that two-thirds of clinics did not fulfil the Faculty of Pain Medicine standards for Chronic Pain Services. It also showed that staff with the appropriate skills to deliver treatment were often not available, and that information on pain was ‘not being delivered in a way that many patients can grasp the essentials’.
Dr William Campbell, president of the British Pain Society, said: “The audit has clearly illustrated the devastating impact that chronic pain has on the huge number of individuals with this condition. Specialised services are not available throughout the country and the quality of the service varies considerably.
“It is essential that commissioners and NHS providers address this major shortfall by establishing appropriately trained multidisciplinary services in a timely fashion, to prevent the ongoing suffering of such a huge population.”
Recommendations from the audit included: The development of a model service specification for specialist services A review of safety protocols to ensure that mental health risk assessments and case reviews of missed diagnoses are included in many services Specialised pain services to work in an integrated fashion across a wide geographical area as virtually no single provider has the capability to manage patients at the severe and highly specialised end of the spectrum Clearer linkage of level of services to patient need Clinics to audit patients’ understanding of persistent pain and of treatment options.