Seeking Help With Pain (due to long NHS waiting times)

“The majority of patients living with chronic pain in Great Britain are having to wait much longer than recommended for specialist help to manage their symptoms, with some waiting two years after being referred by their GP.  According to information obtained by the Pharmaceutical Journal under the Freedom of Information Act, pain management clinics are offering a wide range of treatment options for chronic pain — such as interventional procedures, physiotherapy, psychological therapy & occupational therapy — but average waiting times from referral to treatment range from 6 to 112 weeks across the country” [1]


Anyone who has been suffering from pain for a period of in excess of  three months, is classed as having chronic (long-term) pain. –  If they have not been given a diagnosis by a Pain Specialist, then

this can be extremely worrying for both the suffer and their family, as all parties are likely to be concerned as to whether it is something serious or not, and whether it can be ameliorated with suitable treatment.


There is little doubt that the current situation with the NHS, is a totally unacceptable state of affairs. – If one considers the situation in London, for example: “The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust reported an average waiting time of 37 weeks for its pain management service. And Pain Specialists warned that longer waiting times often mean that patients’ health has deteriorated by the time they reach pain management clinics, meaning that it is harder for pain management therapies to tackle their symptoms” [1]. Further, as a high profile pain management practitioner aptly put it: “Patients can deteriorate over that time quite dramatically. It is harder for pain services to support more debilitated or severely affected people and their options may be more limited” [1].


Taking Action


Seeing an experienced Pain Consultant who has spent a substantial number of years in the field, is paramount to ensuring that you receive a diagnosis, and get started on a Personalised Treatment Plan as soon as possible. Moreover, you are likely to be given advice on various things which you should and should not do. – Things which could improve your condition, and things which could make it worse.


When you attend your first consultation, after looking at your medical history, giving you an examination, undertaking any tests, and asking you pertinent questions about your pain, your Pain Specialist will then explain everything to you about your current medical situation, in laymen’s terms. They will then draw up a holistic personalised Treatment Plan involving both conventional and cutting-edge treatments, which may comprise more than one modality.





[1]. Connelly, D. (2020). “Some patients with chronic pain face waiting years to see a specialist.” Pharmaceutical Journal.