West Essex CCG provides a community MSK pain management service for patients who live in West Essex. This is the West Essex Pain Management Service. Find out more information in our handy leaflet.
We help and teach our patients to manage pain, taking a non-medicalised approach that lowers reliance on painkillers, reduces GP visits and focuses on early intervention before chronic pain has time to set in.
Through education and individual care planning, we help patients to:
- Understand their pain to help overcome fears and barriers
- Use well-developed self-management skills
- Return to – or continue at – work
- Confidently manage their condition in the long-term
- Restore optimal physical function
- Be confident in understanding medications and using the lowest, optimal dose
Our pain management team includes a nurse consultant, two senior clinical nurse specialists, two senior physiotherapists, a clinical psychologist and a pain consultant. A professional development nurse also holds education sessions to help GPs reassess their use of opioids in line with Opioid Aware recommendations.
Four clinics run across the CCG area, in Harlow, Epping, Saffron Walden and Bishops Stortford. We also hold education sessions in the wider west Essex community, as well as working closely with local GPs. Patients are referred to the service from a hospital, their GP or their physiotherapist.
Patients have their first assessment with either the consultant nurse, senior physiotherapist or medical consultant. Self-assessment forms are sent out as part of the initial consultation. Patients are then invited to a ‘next steps’ workshop – held weekly in a community setting and delivered by senior nurses.
Using goal setting and shared decision making, patients are supported to draw up their own personalised care plan for the next six months.
Education and therapies are then delivered in small workshops of eight to 16 participants or patients can opt for a face to face appointment if they prefer. Physiotherapy is also personalised to the patient’s individual needs.
Many of the patients seen by the service may have psychological problems and need additional support with their pain management journey.
The patient’s chosen care plan is shared with their GP to ensure the pathway (their plan) feels seamless.
When patients have completed their care plans they attend a review appointment. These appointments will look to demonstrate improvements in physical function as well as psychological benefits such as reductions in anxiety and improvement of mood. Pain scores for some patients are another way that we look to see how things have improved for people.
For patients with persistent pain of non MSK origin the referral should be made to the Central Referral Service (CRS) and will then be offered a choice of providers.