The team have been working with three GP practices to identify patients who are either on above recommended doses of opiate painkillers or over-using their prescribed opiates, and reducing their dose to the minimum required. Meanwhile, for people whose original illness has recovered, the painkiller has been discontinued altogether, and in the last year, the service has experienced change in which patients can now self-refer.
Reflective of the team’s collaborative ethos, multidisciplinary working has played an integral role in the service. For example, Pain Scotland presented on their self-help groups. Furthermore, the local GP practices felt that this group of patients were better managed as a result of 20-to-30-minute appointments being allocated which extended the time in which the individuals could be seen and listened to.
The surgeries involved have now been able to implement good prescribing practice for opiates and have clear treatment strategies for managing these patients.