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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.