Department of Health written question – answered on 27th January 2015.

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Photo of Andrew Bingham Andrew Bingham Conservative, High Peak

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what progress his Department has made in treating pain since the Chief Medical Officer's annual report in 2008 called for the issue to receive greater priority.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

In response to the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO’s) report 2008 report, the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership working with The British Pain Society and Dr Foster undertook the first ever National Pain Audit, which launched in 2009. The findings from the three year study, which appeared in three reports, highlighted variation in service provision and made a number of recommendations for the National Health Service to improve quality of care for patients suffering from chronic pain.

Since 1 April 2013, NHS England became responsible for the commissioning of specialised pain services for patients with chronic pain. NHS England has published a service specification for patients with chronic pain that sets out what providers must have in place in order to deliver evidence-based, safe and effective services. It supports equity of access to a nationally consistent, high quality service for patients. The specification can be found at the following link:

In the time since the CMO report, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has produced a range of guidance to support clinicians to diagnose and treat a range of conditions causing ongoing pain, most recently publishing the 2013 guideline Neuropathic pain: The pharmacological management of neuropathic pain in adults in non-specialist settings. Finally, the British Pain Society collaborated with the Map of Medicine to produce a range of evidence-based pain care pathways, published in October 2014. These support NHS commissioners, providers and patients to access to high-quality, practice-informed care pathways that map the journey from initial presentation through to ongoing management of chronic pain. This can be accessed on the NHS Choices website at the following link:

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