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Chief medical officer's 2008 annual report published
Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer, has published his 2008 Annual Report, on the State of Public Health in which he highlights the need for a major initiative to widen access to high-quality pain services to improve the lives of millions.
Sir Liam commented, "Chronic pain reduces the quality of life more than almost any other condition. The impact of pain on people's lives is significant, bringing emotional and financial burdens to patients and their loved ones. A major initiative to widen access to pain services is badly needed."
The CMO’s report dedicated an entire chapter to the issue of chronic pain, with Sir Liam Donaldson describing it as a condition on the increase. Not only were the personal impacts of the condition highlighted, such as exhaustion, isolation and depression, but also the economic damage done every year. Estimates in the report suggested that back pain alone cost the economy £12.3billion every year, with around 25% of chronic pain sufferers losing their jobs.
The report stated that early intervention is required to pain become a persistent problem, turning from acute to a chronic condition. Currently only 14% of people with pain have been able to see pain specialists, so the services available need expanding. Sir Liam Donaldson called for a ‘model pain service or pathway of care’ for chronic pain needs to be developed by experts, while all healthcare professionals should require training in chronic pain.
The report marks an important step in bringing the issue of Chronic Pain further up the political agenda, with an entire chapter dedicated to the subject and Sir Liam Donaldson stressing the need to prioritise the subject.