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Pain: Health Services

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the proportion of pain management services provided by the NHS which offer individual psychological therapy; and if he will make a statement. (249264)

The Department has made no such estimate. It is the responsibility of primary care trusts to decide which services and treatments it will provide to meet the needs of its population.

The Department does recognise that the effects of chronic pain on quality of life can be considerable, and that the treatment of pain is less successful when psychological components of pain are not addressed through an integrated pain management programme. The Department has published an 18-week patient pathway for chronic pain which provides commissioners with the support they need to commission services appropriately. A copy has been placed in the Library. NHS Choices has also provided information that will raise the awareness of chronic pain and treatments, including psychological components.

In addition, the Department has established an Expert Patients programme (EPP) to help patients manage their long-term conditions through programmes that address issues such as healthy eating, dealing with pain and extreme tiredness, relaxation techniques and coping with feelings of depression, including a “Persistent Pain programme”. The EPP has helped more than 30,000 patients since it was established in April 2002.