West Suffolk: Community support for sufferers of chronic pain

Dr Rakesh Raja

Dr Rakesh Raja - Credit: Archant

Chronic pain sufferers in west Suffolk are set to benefit from a new NHS community pain service to help patients deal with their condition.

The community pain management service, commissioned by NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), is expected to come into operation in March next year.

Dr Rakesh Raja, a GP in Sudbury who is spearheading the introduction of the service for the CCG, said chronic pain was a long-term condition that could have a “significant impact” on a person’s life, preventing them from carrying out everyday tasks and maintaining employment.

According to the British Pain Society, almost 10 million people in the UK suffer pain almost daily.

The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society estimates that 9.4m working days are lost through the condition.

Dr Raja said: “A major focus of the new service will be shared decision making, which will enable patients to make their own choices on how they should be treated.

“It means that patients have more involvement in the treatment they receive and are able to better manage their own condition.

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“It will aim to give people the treatment, help and advice so they can live with their condition.

“Another really important addition is looking at the psychological needs of those patients with a new holistic support service.”

The community pain management service will also support health professionals in managing those patients who could develop chronic pain.

By ensuring those patients know how they can help themselves to prevent chronic pain developing – and by providing medical intervention where necessary – the CCG aims to reduce the number of people in west Suffolk with the condition.

The new service has been developed by working with the West Suffolk Chronic Pain Group and health professionals at West Suffolk and Ipswich hospitals, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Public Health Suffolk.

This forum enabled plans for the new service to be developed and make sure it works effectively for the benefit of chronic pain sufferers in west Suffolk.