At a recent meeting of the Patient Participation Group we were discussing the new developments which were starting to happen, such as local G.P. practices being allocated a Physiotherapist, and an ANP - an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, who who can prescribe, diagnose and who would also be able to carry out Home Visits on behalf of the G.P.
These developments will hopefully take pressure off our busy G.P.s. This led to a discussion of other ways that people can have support for improving their health whilst still trying to ease demand on doctors. This includied patients getting support from various specialist voluntary groups and I discussed one which has been a huge support to me.
Having been referred to the physiotherapy service at the Biggart Hospital, Prestwick, in connection with my back pain, I noticed a poster describing a self-management group run by The Pain Association Scotland. This is a national charity that delivers professionally led pain management in the community. The service they offer is specifically designed to target those who are affected by long term or chronic painful conditions. It is important to note that this is a different service from the Pain Clinic, which is an NHS provision.
The local Pain Management Group is held monthly at the Biggart Hospital, and is designed to address the non-medical issues which impact on people’s lives. The service is open to anyone, regardless of diagnosis, at any time. It is led by an experienced and trained facilitator.
Each month, a topic is delivered in a way that makes it possible for everyone to interact and contribute and to make sense of pain management. The focus is on self-management, which is about you being back in control, not the pain controlling you. The ideas on offer are about becoming a person again, rather than a patient.
I have found it incredibly helpful and enjoy learning from other members of the group, as well as the facilitator.
You do not need a referral from your doctor or other health / social welfare professional. You can just go along and you will be made to feel very welcome, as I was.
The Pain Association Scotland can be contacted at their Head Office on Freephone number: 0800 7836059.