Berkshire’s collaborative pain and spinal service wins Emerging Best Practice Award

Berkshire’s Integrated Pain Assessment and Spinal Service (IPASS) has won the British Society of Rheumatology’s 2016 Emerging Best Practice Award for its work in helping people with musculoskeletal and chronic pain problems.

Operational since September 2015, the specialist team, made up of physiotherapists and psychologists, supported by pain and spinal Consultants and an administrative team, runs clinics across west Berkshire, Wokingham and Reading. They offer expert spinal assessments and diagnosis, as well as helping people to manage persistent pain to ensure they can continue to enjoy a good quality of life.

The British Society of Rheumatology attributed the project’s success to the collaborative engagement of a wide range of healthcare professionals and providers, funded by Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Groups and including Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, and the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Antoni Chan, Rheumatology Consultant at the Royal Berkshire Hospital who led the project through its development said: “It is estimated that 14 million people live with chronic pain in England alone. Before the collaborative service was launched, the care of patients living with chronic pain could be disjointed, with each provider managing their own episode of care in isolation to other healthcare colleagues. This often led to duplication of information and multiple visits for patients.

“The formation of the Berkshire IPASS has meant that patients are now assessed and receive the most appropriate care earlier on in their treatment plan. The service also offers a range of strategies including back and pain management classes to engage patients in exercise activities and promote self-management of their condition.”

IPASS patient, Joseph O’Farrell, has a long history of back pain. He attended a joint physiotherapy and psychology assessment, followed by one-to-one pain physiotherapy and the pain management programme. He said: “The staff were first class and what they taught me was most valuable. I have now stopped focussing on my pain and instead concentrate on the important things in my life. I would encourage others to attend the pain management programme.”

Low back pain is ranked highest out of 291 conditions studied by the Global Burden of Disease study, ranking number one for years lost to disability worldwide. In fact three of the top 12 disabling conditions globally are low-back and neck pain, arthritis, other musculoskeletal conditions.

Lesley Holmes, Head of Scheduled Care, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said, “This is a fantastic achievement for our IPASS service, which only started in September last year. All of the staff deserve recognition for their hard work and collaborative approach that they have taken to help people with musculoskeletal and chronic pain problems, and we are proud to be recognised by the British Society of Rheumatology.”


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