Shared Medical Appointments for patients with chronic pain

Devon Doctors Ltd

This project is under way, and will run until March 2020.

  • Project led by Devon Doctors Ltd, in partnership with Plymouth Marjon University and Evalesco Consulting.
  • Aiming to increase self-management and peer support in patients with chronic pain, and to reduce opioid medication use.
  • Will address biopsychosocial issues through Shared Medical Appointments with a multidisciplinary team, including a GP, pharmacist and exercise therapist.

It is estimated that 14 million people in England live with chronic pain, and 25% say it prevents them from doing their normal daily activities, including work. People living with chronic pain consult their GP up to five times more frequently than those without pain.

The use of opioid medicine to manage chronic pain is a national concern, and in the Devon CCG area, spend on opioid medication is significantly higher than the national average. 

This project will investigate whether Shared Medical Appointments (SMAs), that bring together medical and non-medical aspects of pain management, can give patients more control over their condition.

The initial cohort of patients will be 36, with groups of up to eight patients having an appointment at the same time. The participating patients will have complex health issues, often with co-morbidities, and be living in difficult social situations and using high doses of opioid medication.

Each SMA will be two hours long and will take place in a GP practice. It will involve educational elements (such as medicines management, the pain cycle and nutrition), group discussion with other patients, and interaction with a core multidisciplinary team consisting of a GP, pharmacist and exercise therapist.

The aim is to provide patients with approaches to managing their chronic pain in different ways so that they can go about their daily life more easily. Peer-to-peer support will help to reduce feelings of isolation and improve resilience. Medicine reviews will aim to reduce the levels of opioid medication.

Contact information

For more information about this project, please contact Elizabeth Edwards-Smith, Project and Change Manager, Evalesco Consulting. 

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