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Cymraeg

Tackling chronic pain

21 August 2007

A University expert has played a leading role in the development of plans recently issued by the Welsh Assembly Government to improve the everyday lives of thousands of people in Wales living with long-term pain.

Mrs Ann Taylor, School of Medicine, has worked collaboratively with the Welsh Pain Society to advise the Welsh Assembly Government on the development of a strategic plan to improve the health, well-being and quality of life for people living with chronic non-malignant pain in Wales.

Chronic non-malignant pain is a persistent pain caused by a wide variety of health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or migraine. A significant number of people in Wales suffer from such conditions. It can affect people of all ages and any social background but is closely linked with social and economic deprivation.

The Service Development and Commissioning Directives for Chronic Non-Malignant Pain were developed through a series of meetings and workshops with the Welsh Pain Society and through patient, public and professional consultation outside the Society led by Mrs Taylor. The plan has now been published as part of a public consultation by the Welsh Assembly Government to support the redesign of care for chronic conditions.

The plan includes suggestions to improve health and well being through more patient-centred services closer to people's homes. It also sets out the need to develop professional skills within the National Health Service including increasing the number of GPs with special interests in pain to act as regional advisors for primary care staff.

Mrs Taylor, School of Medicine’s Department of Anaesthetics said: "Chronic non-malignant pain resulting from conditions such as back pain or arthritis is one of the most common conditions affecting people in Wales. Wales is leading the UK, in attempting to improve pain management at a strategic level, by helping commissioners to decide upon the most appropriate services."

Health Minister Edwina Hart said: "The Assembly Government is committed to providing better services that are more patient-centred, integrated across health, social care and voluntary sector organisations and delivered closer to people's homes to enable them to live their daily lives more easily.

"This plan will help ease the pain of those living with these chronic and debilitating conditions, helping to enable a return to work where appropriate and supporting wider economic activity across Wales."