Better Support For People Living With Chronic Pain
New plans to improve the everyday lives of thousands of people in Wales living with long-term pain were announced by Health Minister.
Edwina Hart said the Welsh Assembly Government wanted to improve the way that debilitating but non-malignant pain conditions are managed and has launched a three-month public consultation on the Service Development and Commissioning Directives for Non-Malignant Pain.
Chronic non-malignant pain is a persistent pain caused by a wide variety of health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, migraine and medically unexplained syndromes. It can affect people of all ages and any social background but is closely linked with social and economic deprivation.
People living with pain find it has a major impact on the quality of their lives, it can lead to physical disability and affects many aspects of their everyday life.
Mrs Hart said: "Chronic non-malignant pain resulting from conditions such as back pain or arthritis is one of the most common conditions affecting people in Wales.
"The Assembly Government is committed to providing better services that are more patient-centred, integrated across health, social care and voluntary sector organisations and delivered closer to people's homes to enable them to live their daily lives more easily.
"This plan will help ease the pain of those living with these chronic and debilitating conditions, helping to enable a return to work where appropriate and supporting wider economic activity across Wales."
Figures suggest that one in four people with chronic pain report losing a job due to their pain, and a quarter suffer with depression because of their condition.
A chronic non-malignant pain focus group in Pontypool summed up the impact on people's lives as: "Chronic pain turns a life into a mere existence. The effects are devastating and often demeaning. It has a negative impact on relationships, inside and outside the home. It involves the loss of independence, dignity and control"
The new plan aims to improve health and well being through: