New health plans to care for chronic pain

HEALTH bosses in Sheffield have produced a new "three- tiered pathway" of care for patients living with chronic pain.

NHS Sheffield has come up with the new arrangement and is seeking feedback from those who could be affected.

The service covers primary care - where the patient would be supported by their GP; community-based pain management - involving patient-entred education and pain management support and, as a last resort, specialist hospital-based interventions.

The third tier would be aimed at patients with severe pain which has a significantimpact on their daily life and those who have not benefited from previous methods of care.

The trust believes the new system would provide a better way of tackling pain before it becomes a long-term problem.

An estimated 56,000 to 84,000 people live with such conditions in Sheffield, and 20 per cent of patients suffer for more than 20 years.

GP Dr Zak McMurray, joint chairman of NHS Sheffield's clinical executive, said: "There is a need for enhanced provision of chronic pain services within the NHS, including improved services in community-based clinics.

"The proposed new pathway would be put in place to enable faster access to assessment and treatment while ensuring the patient gets the most appropriate treatment according to their need."

In October bosses scrapped a host of NHS pain-management services, telling GPs they could apply for special funds to pay for vital treatment only.

Procedures including tonsil-removal, grommet insertions into ears, varicose vein surgery, routine hysterectomies, lower back surgery, acupuncture, cognitive behaviour therapy, and hypnotherapy are no longer offered routinely.

To give your views on the new pain management service log on to www.sheffield.nhs.uk/consultations or download the document and send it to Kelly Greenwood, NHS Sheffield, 722 Prince of Wales Road, Sheffield, S9 4EU, by March 10.

Public meetings is also being held across the city so patients can find out more about the plans and give their views.

They are on Thursday January 27 from 2.30pm until 4pm at Wincobank Medical Centre; Monday January 31 from 6pm until 7.30pm at Sloan Medical Centre and on Monday February 21 from 6.30pm until 8pm at The Circle, Rockingham Street in Sheffield city centre.

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