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Pain management service


We are continuing offering face-to-face appointments as usual, or remote telephone and video appointments if preferred. Currently all our workshops are being delivered virtually. We aim to return to a mix of virtual and face-to-face workshops as soon as is practicable.

We encourage you to wear a mask when attending all appointments in person.

The aim of pain self-management is to a improve person’s knowledge of their pain so that they gain the confidence to manage their pain independently. To help achieve this, our team will work with individuals to provide them with new skills and strategies through group workshops or personal sessions.

Service Information

Our team includes senior doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists, and pharmacists, all with specialist expertise in pain management. Individuals referred to our service may find they are offered the opportunity to work with one or all of the team, depending on their specific needs. As well as working closely together, we also work with other community groups and healthcare providers.

Many things can affect pain, such as lack of sleep and stress or worry. The workshops that we offer will teach individuals to understand the impact that pain has on the body and mind, and how this can negatively affect activities and lifestyle.

During their journey with our team, individuals will be encouraged to identify their own personal goals and choose something that is important to them that they would like us to help them achieve. The emphasis of our service is on the individual, and how we can support them to engage in the things they enjoy and that are of value to them.

What is persistent pain?

Persistent (or chronic) pain is a pain that lasts for more than six months. For most people who have been injured, the pain stops within six months as the body’s healing process has been completed. This is known as ‘acute’ or ‘short-term’ pain. Nonetheless, for some people the pain can continue after six months, even though the body has healed. Over 28 million people in the UK live with persistent pain.

While there is no one-size-fits-all cure for persistent pain, we do know through research that a combination of different treatments, such as physiotherapy, education, and psychology, can be very effective in managing symptoms. For some people, medication may have some short-term benefits. For many people, however, medication has not been effective.

Persistent pain can be very frustrating and can prevent people from doing the things they enjoy. People who have persistent pain often tell us that their pain causes them to feel unhappy and it reduces their activities. When assessing how to help people to manage their pain, we look at all areas of their life.

Our service aims to support people to gain a better understanding of your their so that they feel empowered to self-manage it, which will in turn help improve their quality of life.

Who the service is for

The service is provided in partnership by Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust (PAHT), Essex Partnership University Trust (EPUT) and Stellar Health Care. GPs within the West Essex CCG, hospital consultants, and MSK physiotherapists can refer to our service.

We currently offer our service from different locations across west Essex including;

  • Epping
  • Harlow
  • Bishop’s Stortford
  • Saffron Walden
  • Stansted

Pre-Assessment Workshop

Once we have received your letter of referral and you have been accepted into our service, a member of our administration team will contact you invite you to our Pre-Assessment Workshop. This workshop is about 45 minutes to an hour long and is delivered virtually online through Microsoft Teams or in small face to face groups when possible. You will need an internet connection, an email address and a laptop or tablet to access the workshops. If you do not have internet access, please do not worry, our administrative team will help you.

The Pre-Assessment Workshop has been designed to help you understand the key principles of pain management and prepare you for your journey with us. The science and research around chronic or persistent pain has changed a a lot over the last 30 years and approaches to managing pain have changed. Our Service ethos embraces these changes and our approach reflects all the national, international and NICE guidance for the management of chronic /persistent pain.

Following the Pre-Assessment Workshop, you are able to opt in or opt out of the pain management service. If you opt in, our administration team will offer you an assessment appointment in one of our four locations preferred by you.  We will send you a letter confirming the date, place, and time of your appointment, as well as a self-assessment form.  This should be completed by you before your appointment and brought with you.  The information provided will help us understand more about your pain and how it affects you.  We understand that pain is a unique and individual experience and that the management plan for each person will be different.

What to expect

You can expect the assessment to last between 45 and 60 minutes. You may undergo a clinical examination during the assessment, so please wear comfortable clothing.  At the end of the assessment, you will have time to discuss what you would like us to help you with, and together we will support you to decide what is best for you.

Next Steps presentation

After the assessment, you may be invited to attend our Next Steps presentation. This presentation summarises the different education and pain management group workshops we offer, and gives you a chance to choose the workshops you feel will be most beneficial to you. Some of the subjects covered by our workshops include understanding and managing pain, sleep and relaxation, diet and nutrients, getting fit to stay or return to work, and medication and opioid use. None of the workshops are mandatory; however research has shown that the more people are actively involved in the management of their long term condition, the better their understanding of and ability to manage it.

What if someone feels that the service offered is not for them?

The most important thing is that individuals feel ready to work in partnership with our service. If they do not feel this service is for them, then they do not have to attend and can decline the appointment when we contact them. Their referral will be returned to their GP who will continue to monitor them. If, at a later date, they you feel that they would like support from our service, they can ask their GP to re-refer them.

Referral Information

You can referred to our service by your;

  • GP
  • MSK specialist or physiotherapy department
  • Hospital consultant

The clinicians who refer to us are aware of our acceptance criteria. Most referrals are made via the NHS electronic referral system, or e-RS. Sometimes, when your clinician registers you on this system, the system generates an automatic appointment letter giving an appointment time late in the evening. This is a triage appointment and not an actual appointment. The appointment letter does state this but it is confusing!

Once your referral has been triaged by our team, you will receive an invite to the pre-assessment workshop as outlined above.

Healthcare professional

If you are a clinician looking to refer a patient to the WECPMS and would like to know more about what we offer or how to make a referral, please visit the West Esses CCG webpage.  

If you have any questions about referrals to the service, please contact us via the Central Referral Service, Stellar Healthcare.

Telephone: 0344 257 3965, option 2, Monday to Friday, 09:00–17:00

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