Scottish Government
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New national chronic pain centre

Centre of Excellence to be based at single location

Substantial progress has been made to improve care for people suffering from chronic pain, Health Secretary Alex Neil said yesterday.

Mr Neil was speaking as the Scottish Government published its response to a consultation on the provision of chronic pain services, confirming the decision to establish a new national centre for treating patients based at a single location.

More than 75 per cent of respondents to the consultation said that was their favoured option.

NHS boards have until the end of April to express an interest in hosting the new service. An announcement on the final location will be made around the end of May.

The national service will deliver residential courses for patients and carers on how to cope with the effects of chronic pain, and how to manage their condition.

The response to the chronic pain consultation sets out some of the improvements made to chronic pain services, including a £1.3 million investment in service improvements, pain management programmes established in eight health boards with three more on the way, and a service model which all boards have committed to implement.

It also details some of the challenges facing people with chronic pain, including travel costs, access to information and referral difficulties.

Mr Neil said: “I’d like to thank everyone who responded to the national consultation, which will be invaluable in helping us to further improve services for chronic pain, and for pinpointing where difficulties lie.

“It’s quite clear to me that there is considerable support for a national centre of excellence to be based here in Scotland, so that patients no longer have to travel hundreds of miles to the south west of England. I look forward to being able to announce the location of the new service as soon as possible.

“Chronic pain can be a debilitating condition, but if managed well, patients can continue to lead fulfilling lives.

“I’m proud of the progress we’ve made so far. More work needs to be done, but measures like the new national steering group, pain management programmes across more boards, and the national service model will all drive up standards, cut waiting times and deliver a better level of service across Scotland.”

Professor Blair Smith has been named as the new national clinical lead for chronic pain. Professor Blair, a consultant in pain medicine at NHS Tayside, and a professor of population health science at the University of Dundee, will replace Dr Steve Gilbert. He will begin his new role on 1st May.


The Scottish Government’s response to the national chronic pain consultation can be viewed here:

Some of the measures taken by the Scottish Government to improve chronic pain services include:

• Invested £1.3 million in service improvements
• Established a national steering group for chronic pain, and a support group to share best practice
• Outpatient pain management programmes have been set up in eight health boards, and are under development in three others
• Launch of a Scottish chronic pain website -
• Developed a service model which all boards have committed to implement
• Improved guidance on a range of interventions which can alleviate pain such as acupuncture and electrotherapy

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