Resources for commissioners

Chronic, persistent and long-term pain are all terms used to describe pain that has continued for 3 months or more. Sometimes long term pain can be traced to a nerve injury or medical condition like arthritis but in many cases no cause can be found. Chronic pain is recognized as a long term health condition and unfortunately there is usually no medical cure and it often does not respond to standard medical treatments.. Chronic pain has a significant impact on all areas of life. A medical cure is unlikely but appropriate evidence based pharmacological and non-pharmacological management interventions, including facilitating development of self-management skills, can improve clinical outcomes and quality of life for patients with chronic pain.

Chronic pain has a major economic impact. More than 8 million people in the UK live with long-term pain and pain is the second most common reason for claiming incapacity benefit leading to annual costs in the UK of £3.8 billion. (Chronic Pain Policy Coalition, 2014) People with chronic pain account for 4.6 million GP appointments annually (Belsey, 2002) and each year £584 million is spent on prescriptions for pain (Donaldson, 2008) People with chronic low back pain incur twice the annual healthcare costs than matched controls. (Hang et al 2013)

If you are a manager or commissioner involved in developing services for people with chronic pain you may find the resources on the right helpful.

Online Resources


Belsey J, 2002, Primary care workload in the management of chronic pain. A retrospective cohort study using a GP database to identify resource implications for UK primary care.
Journal of Medical Economics 2002 5: 39-50
Donaldson L, 2009, Annual report of the chief medical officer for 2008. Department of Health , London. The report can be found here 
Hang JRC, Norwick D, Happich M, 2013, Costs associated with treatment of chronic low back pain: an analysis of the UK general practice database Spine 38(1): 75-82
The chronic pain policy coalition, 2014, About chronic pain.
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