Dozens die while waiting for appointment to treat chronic pain in Scotland

Dozens of patients died last year while waiting for an appointment to treat chronic pain in Scotland, it has emerged.

Figures show 43 people were removed from pain clinic waiting lists because they had passed away before being able to see a specialist.

The pro-UK campaign group Scotland in Union (SiU) said people would be “extremely concerned” by the news and accused the SNP of allowing problems to develop in the NHS.

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It previously highlighted the number of patients who had died while awaiting pain appointments in the previous five years. Since September 2017, that total now stands at 240.

Public Health Scotland figures show 16 people died between June and September this year, 10 the quarter before that, seven at the end of March and a further 10 in the three months before.

Hundreds of people are removed from chronic pain waiting lists each month for a range of reasons, including a refusal to attend or because other solutions to their pain have been found.

Chronic pain is defined as a pain that continues for more than three months, even with medication or treatment.

SiU said the number of patients dying after having been referred to see a specialist pointed to deeper problems within the NHS.

Chief executive Pamela Nash said: “People will be extremely concerned about the state of Scotland’s NHS if this many people have died in pain without seeing a specialist.

“These are extremely vulnerable people, yet every year many of them die without these desperately needed appointments. It’s yet another example of the problems which the SNP has allowed to unfold within our NHS.

“The nationalists have been in sole charge of health for more than 15 years – they are the ones who need to explain what’s gone wrong.”

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.



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