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Airing Pain 106: Pain Education For Doctors, Patients And Parents

What can be done to implement better pain education for doctors, patients and parents, and trusting your pharmacist when in doubt

This edition has been funded by Pain Concern supporter and cyclist Ade and The Sackler Trust.

According to the British Pain Society, doctors and other healthcare professionals (HCPs) receive less training in pain management than veterinarians.[1] With pain being one of the major presenting factors for a large number of medical problems, this edition of Airing Pain looks into what programmes are being implemented to alleviate this knowledge gap.

Dr Helen Lakins, deputy lead for the UK Essential Pain Management Course, describes how the course developed from being taught to HCPs in developing countries to being used in Australia and the UK. The predominant aim of the course is in response to the majority of medical undergraduates believing they are not receiving adequate pain training.

Swansea University is currently undertaking a research study into patients’ beliefs and expectations of pain medications. Paul speaks to Dr Sherrill Snelgrove and Sarah Long about how the study has found evidence that people’s beliefs about their medication and illness can feed into how they manage their pain.

Finally, Paul speaks to psychologist Dr Jo McParland of Glasgow Caledonian University about her involvement in a study focusing on parent appraisals of injustice when their child has chronic pain. Dr McParland emphasises the importance of highlighting the child’s experience, as well as validation from both HCPs and parents themselves.

Issues covered in this programme include: Children and young people, beliefs about pain, healthcare in developing countries, educating healthcare professionals, family, health beliefs, policy, medication, older people, painkillers, parents, polypharmacy, side effects and research.


  • Dr Joanna McParland, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Dr Helen Makins, The Essential Pain Management Course, Consultant in Pain Medicine & Anaesthesia, Gloucestershire Hospitals and Dilke Memorial Hospital
  • Dr Sherrill Snelgrove, Associate Professor, Public Health, Policy and Social Sciences, Swansea University
  • Sarah Long, Pharmaceutical Advisor, NHS Wales.

More information:

[1] Andrew Baranowski, BPS President.

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