Campaigners in Scots chronic pain services plea

Campaigners claim chronic pain sufferers are forced to travel to special hospitals in England for treatment. Picture: Contributed
Campaigners claim chronic pain sufferers are forced to travel to special hospitals in England for treatment. Picture: Contributed
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Campaigners say they hope the Health Secretary will announce measures to help people suffering from chronic pain, as MSPs debate the issue today.

• Campaigners have called for Health Secretary Alex Neil to improve chronic pain services in Scotland

• Scotland lacks inpatient service and many are forced to travel to England for help, say campaigners

They want Alex Neil to create inpatient facilities in Scotland to prevent sufferers from having to travel to specialist hospitals in England.

Campaigners are also willing Mr Neil to take steps to improve chronic pain services at day clinics.

A spokeswoman for the Chronic Pain Cross Party Group said: “Unlike even Wales, Scotland still doesn’t have an inpatient service for the most severely affected minority out of a multitude.

“The majority of sufferers are adults but Scotland has around 70,000 children who also suffer from chronic pain. A few children and juveniles have also been sent on these gruelling journeys.

“At present, access to day clinics is often condemned as a postcode lottery, dependent on where you live. They’re short of staff and funding, coping with an epidemic of long-term pain, increasing due to the age timebomb.

“Only four out of Scotland’s 14 health boards supply a budget for chronic pain treatment.”

The cross-party group was set up at Holyrood in 2001 and while it says minor improvements have been made, major issues are yet to be addressed.

Chronic pain sufferers, including Susan Archibald, will be in Parliament to hear the debate.

Ms Archibald has petitioned MSPs, calling for radical improvements to the system, including the establishment of a residential unit in Scotland for sufferers, the transfer of more management of chronic pain into primary care and a greater focus on a social rather than medical model of care.

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