New pain management service will deliver care closer to home

Suffolk GP Federation will deliver a new pain management service in partnership with West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT).

The collaboration will see staff from both organisations working across primary, secondary and community care.

They will offer support to patients to self-manage their condition, improve the choices those patients have in how their condition is treated and provide more opportunities for a greater number of people to be treated in the community, for example in their GP practice rather than a hospital.

David Pannell, chief executive of Suffolk GP Federation, said: “We are delighted to be working in closer partnership with our colleagues at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

“The new service will allow us to draw on each other’s skills and expertise and provide more effective care to patients – improving access to appointments in a community setting closer to people’s homes.

“Living with chronic pain can be extremely debilitating but together we will be able to help and teach our patients to manage their condition, taking a non-medicalised approach that lowers reliance on painkillers, reduces GP visits and focuses on early intervention.”

It is anticipated that the West Suffolk Integrated Pain Management Service will begin operating from April 2018.

Dr Marcia Schofield, clinical lead for pain at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are pleased to be entering an alliance agreement with the Suffolk GP Federation to widen access to the full range of pain treatments for patients across west Suffolk. The new, combined service will provide a seamless and improved experience of care, and will empower patients to self-manage their pain and conditions as well as access services outside of the hospital environment.

“We hope the new integrated service will be a model for commissioning of integrated acute and persistent pain services across the UK.”


The service has been commissioned by NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (WSCCG).


Dr Andrew Hassan, WSCCG Governing Body member, said: “Around 4,000 people each year access these pain management services, so it’s important that the services are effective and deliver a good outcome. Effective care is best achieved by involving patients in the decision-making process which is why this new service will make sure patients are involved every step of the way. Patients will be empowered to know how they can better self-manage their own condition through one to one support, reduce the reliance on medication and the number of medical interventions required.

“We know that a number of people who are living with pain can end up unnecessarily at their hospital’s A&E or outpatient department.  People also told us this at one of our Patient Revolution conferences and that change was needed. We have listened and have implemented plans to work better in order to deliver improved patient outcomes.  It could be that patients would benefit from physiotherapy or advice on living a healthier lifestyle to improve their condition, resulting in less reliance on the NHS.  And where medical intervention is needed the service will offer greater opportunity to access this in the community and away from the hospital environment.”


Greater levels of partnership working are a focus for the area’s local health and care plan.

The wider programme is called the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership and is one of 44 programmes across the UK aimed at improving clinical care, prevention and making sure money is spent wisely by changing the way things are done.