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Pain Concern Statement on new NICE guidelines for management of chronic primary pain

12 April 2021

Pain Con­cern know from calls and emails to our helpline that these new guide­lines are caus­ing dis­tress and anx­i­ety to peo­ple liv­ing with chron­ic pain. Whilst we wel­come the guid­ance on col­lab­o­ra­tive work­ing between patients and health­care pro­fes­sion­als, and are pleased that the guide­lines sup­port a patient-cen­tred assess­ment and encour­age clin­i­cians to recog­nise that chron­ic pri­ma­ry pain can coex­ist with chron­ic sec­ondary pain, we share the con­cerns raised by Blair Smith and Les­ley Colvin, in their let­ter to the British Jour­nal of Gen­er­al Prac­tice of 2nd Feb­ru­ary, that “chron­ic pain has such an impor­tant impact on the lives of peo­ple who live with it that we need every tool avail­able in our tool­box to help in its man­age­ment. Now is not the time to reduce our options”. 

In addi­tion, Pain Con­cern broad­ly agrees with the state­ment from the Fac­ul­ty of Pain Med­i­cine, par­tic­u­lar­ly the con­cerns that the way in which ICD-11 Clas­si­fi­ca­tion of Dis­ease has been used does not reflect clin­i­cal prac­tice or the cur­rent research base. As we feel the guid­ance is based upon craft­ed-togeth­er evi­dence rather than sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly-strong evi­dence, then to remove much of the cur­rent tool­box seems to be poor tim­ing in our view.