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Airing Pain 107: Easing Pain Appointments with the Navigator Tool

How Pain Concern’s Nav­i­ga­tor Tool can help focus pain appointments

This edi­tion has been fund­ed by fund­ed by the Health and Social Care Alliance and Edin­burgh and Loth­i­ans Health Foundation.

In 2015 Pain Con­cern released its report, ‘Break­ing bar­ri­ers to self-man­age­ment of chron­ic pain in pri­ma­ry care’, mark­ing the end of the first part of its ‘Break­ing Bar­ri­ers’ project. Its aim was to high­light the com­mon­ly occur­ring bar­ri­ers that patients faced dur­ing one-to-one appoint­ments with health­care pro­fes­sion­als, and to advance the pri­ma­ry care man­age­ment of chron­ic pain.

Dr Louise Bai­ley and Paul at St Triduana’s Med­ical Practice

Phase two of the project was to pro­duce a ‘nav­i­ga­tor tool’ to break down those bar­ri­ers and pre­pare patients and GPs in order make the most out of their appoint­ments. Phase two is now com­plete, and in this edi­tion of Air­ing Pain, Paul Evans speaks to the researchers, patients, and health­care pro­fes­sion­als that allowed this project to happen.

Paul speaks to Lucy

Reneé Blomkvist, Pain Concern’s researcher head­ing the project’s sec­ond phase, explains the estab­lished bar­ri­er in phase one, as well as the method­ol­o­gy used in prepar­ing the nav­i­ga­tor tool.

Paul speaks to GP study par­tic­i­pant Dr John Hard­man, who has a par­tic­u­lar inter­est in chron­ic pain, about his expe­ri­ence pilot­ing the tool and how it allows both patients and GPs to focus their appoint­ments. We then vis­it the Uni­ver­si­ty of Dundee to hear from the Scot­tish Government’s Lead Clin­i­cian on Chron­ic Pain and mem­ber of the research steer­ing group, Pro­fes­sor Blair Smith, about his views on the role the nav­i­ga­tor tool could play in help­ing peo­ple con­cep­tu­alise and dis­cuss their pain.

At St. Triduana’s Med­ical Prac­tice in Edin­burgh, Lucy and her GP Dr Louise Bai­ley talk about their expe­ri­ences in using the tool, and how the prac­tice is try­ing to use sup­port­ed self-man­age­ment to fur­ther help its patients.

Issues cov­ered in this pro­gramme include: Appoint­ments, man­ag­ing con­sul­ta­tions, pri­ma­ry care, avail­abil­i­ty of pain ser­vices, com­mu­ni­cat­ing pain, edu­cat­ing health­care pro­fes­sion­als, GP, Nav­i­ga­tor Tool, feed­back, patient expe­ri­ence, pre-con­sul­ta­tion, pri­ma­ry care and research.


  • Dr John Hard­man, GP, Nav­i­ga­tor Tool study participant
  • Pro­fes­sor Blair Smith, Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment Lead Clin­i­cian for Chron­ic Pain, Pro­fes­sor of Pop­u­la­tion Heath Sci­ence, Uni­ver­si­ty of Dundee
  • Dr Louise Bai­ley, GP, Nav­i­ga­tor Tool study participant
  • Renee Blomkvist, Pain Con­cern researcher for the Nav­i­ga­tor Tool
  • Lucy Mur­phy, Patient, Nav­i­ga­tor Tool study participant.

More infor­ma­tion:

To find out more about the his­to­ry of Pain Concern’s Nav­i­ga­tor Tool project and to try it out for your­self, please click here.