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National Awareness Campaign

Pain is the most common reason that people attend their GP and affects 1 in 4 people. Persistent pain can be a major source of suffering for many and can present in many ways,  for example after road traffic accidents, burns and war injuries. Pain also occurs with illnesses such as cancer, arthritis and back problems. Pain is not visible.

Outwardly people may look ‘normal’ but are left with life-long severe pain that can affect their mood, relationships with family and friends and their ability to work or relax. We strive to help these people who suffer in silence - without support.

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Article that featured in the September 2021 Pain News, by Dr David Pang, National Awareness Campaign Co-Lead. 

Early in my career I often got surprised looks from patients about the existence of pain services. Even their doctors did not realise that there was a specific clinic that served patients with chronic pain and it was accessible with a simple referral. Are not all doctors experienced in managing pain? What is the purpose of pain management?

Pain medicine is still in its infancy ? despite the increasing recognition that chCouncil ronic pain has a crippling effect on patients, their caregivers and with a knock-on effect on society as a whole. There are many services that exist for our patients, yet access can vary.

The National Awareness Campaign was established by the British Pain Society many years ago with the aim of trying to increase public knowledge and understanding of how pain can be managed. The public have access to more information than ever before, yet chronic pain management is still one of the most difficult areas of healthcare and outcomes do not appear to be improved despite advances in medicine. The reasons behind this are still debated but there is a need for a better understanding of what pain services are available and how to access them.

The aims of the National Awareness Campaign are:

  1. Improve public knowledge of how pain can be managed
  2. Signpost patients and healthcare professionals to pain management services and resources
  3. Develop patient-centred resources to support self-management of pain and the impact of pain on general wellbeing

Currently, resources have been limited and early work has highlighted to the public a number of posters, which have been made and distributed. We want to expand this early work and start to send our message to both patient groups and healthcare organisations.

One start is on having a presence on the BPS website. This will become the central point of information that will allow both patients and professionals to find information and get involved. With time we hope to develop:

  1. Regional hubs so that services can be signposted to patients
  2. Social media presence
  3. Links to support groups for patients
  4. Individual patient stories that can inform of their journey for others
  5.  Engagement with public health bodies and commissioners

While our campaign is small-scale it is hoped that we can develop momentum and expand into a much larger part of the BPS. A big part of this is enlisting help from the different regions in the UK who understand the services that are available,  and we would welcome suggestions from our members and any volunteers who want to participate.

The next step is to reach out to our membership and our patients for this campaign and I will try and write a regular article in Pain News to update on progress. 

Please contact us to discuss how we may work together: [email protected]