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NHS England to stop funding two pain treatments

Pain Concern has described as “deeply regrettable” a decision by NHS England to deprive chronic pain patients of access to two specialist treatments.

The decision means that chronic pain patients will no longer be eligible for deep brain stimulation and intrathecal drug delivery in the future. The charity has also questioned the consistency of the decision which will mean that intrathecal drug delivery will still be available to cancer patients but those with non-cancer related chronic pain will be left without the option.

Pain Concern Chair Heather Wallace said: “The decision to deny access to these potentially life-transforming treatments for people with severe persistent pain is fundamentally wrong and deeply regrettable. We are rightly proud of our universal healthcare system and to see it acting in such a short-sighted and inconsiderate way is truly saddening. Pain Concern hopes that this decision will be reconsidered as soon as possible.”

Professor of Neurosurgery at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford Tipu Aziz said:
“This is disastrous for pain patients needing deep brain stimulation. As it stands I can treat patients from the Republic of Ireland but must turn down local patients. The burden of care is intolerable when I see these patients in clinic. I have more than eighty patients waiting for deep brain stimulation for pain. All referred as they have no other options.”

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