Taking the lead in chronic pain


Care for the thousands of Scots living with chronic pain is being boosted by the appointment of a senior doctor in charge of improving services across the country.

As Scotland's Lead Clinician for Chronic Pain, Dr Pete MacKenzie will spearhead efforts to develop services for the estimated 18.1 per cent of Scottish adults who suffer from the condition.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison announced Dr MacKenzie's appointment last night at a meeting of the Cross Party Group on Chronic Pain at the Scottish Parliament.

Ms Robison said:

"Great progress has been made in caring for the almost one in five Scottish adults who live with chronic pain. First and foremost, it is now recognised as a condition in its own right - a crucial step forward taken by the government.

"But there are still further improvements to be made, and the same high standard of care available to some patients must be made available to all.

"As lead clinician for chronic pain, Dr Pete MacKenzie will provide leadership to the many clinicians - doctors, nurses and allied health professionals - who work in the field, as well as taking charge of ensuring future progress."

Dr Pete MacKenzie said:

"Chronic pain affects approximately one in five of the Scottish population and can not only cause severe physical pain but huge emotional distress too. Patients tell us they need their pain to be taken seriously at an early stage so that it can be treated and they can overcome any related work or family problems.

"There's a lot of enthusiasm among staff, patients and the voluntary sector about what we can do to improve services. One of my main goals is to collaborate with them on a strategic plan for chronic pain, building on existing examples of good practice to make overall care better.

"As a country we have begun some excellent and innovative work to help patients and to recognise chronic pain as a condition in its own right. Through working together to invest in services and education I'm confident we can do much more."

David Falconer from patients' group The Pain Association Scotland said:

"The appointment of Pete MacKenzie is a very welcome next step, following on from the government's recognition of chronic pain as an identified Long Term Condition.

"Many clinicians have looked to the government for national support in planning, funding and delivering services locally and that is exactly what we hope the new lead clinician role will help deliver.

"We particularly welcome the plan to include the voluntary sector in developing services and standards for managing chronic pain, and look forward to working with Dr MacKenzie and our voluntary and NHS colleagues."

Dr MacKenzie will lead national work on improving care for chronic pain sufferers. This will focus on integrating care in hospital and in the community, working more closely with voluntary sector specialists and providing more sources of treatment for pain management so that care can be provided as close to home as possible for more Scots.

Dr MacKenzie is a Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Management based at Glasgow's Southern General Hospital. His appointment is initially for three years with the possibility of an extension, funded from the Scottish Government's Long Term Conditions budget.