Chronic pain service to cease at RJAH in interests of patient safety

Release Date: 09/01/2019

Chronic pain service to cease at RJAH in interests of patient safety

The chronic pain service at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital is to cease at the end of March 2019 due to the impact of new guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on the current provision.

These changes have led to a reduction in patients being referred to the service provided at RJAH. A subsequent internal review found that the service is too fragile to continue safely as a result of operational and clinical challenges, which have resulted in a very small clinical team delivering the service to all patients.

The decision to cease providing the Chronic Pain Service from the end of March 2019 will impact on around 50 patients from Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin and approximately 400 from mid and North Wales and other areas. Letters have been sent to all affected patients explaining the decision and next steps for their care.

Mark Brandreth, Chief Executive, said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and one we believe is necessary to ensure safe care for our patients.

“The service we currently offer is not as robust as we would like to see, due to its reliance on a very small team comprising of just one consultant and one specialist nurse.

“Changes to NICE recommendations on the treatment options we provide, and the impact on that has had on the way the service is commissioned as a result, mean that the number of patients being referred to the service has been falling. That has made it impossible to continue to provide a safe and efficient service.

“We are writing to every patient who will be affected by this, and we are working with the local CCGS and Health Boards to ensure patients are transferred safely to an alternative provider.”

Dr Julie Davies, Director of Performance and Delivery at NHS Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Patient safety is paramount and services must be robust and fit-for-purpose.

“The new NICE guidelines reflect the clinical changes in treatment options for pain management services across the NHS. This has meant a higher proportion of patient treatment occurs in community settings and there is a lower demand for acute hospital care.

“We continue to work with our providers of pain services and welcome their efforts to establish improved care pathways that will ultimately benefit the patients of Shropshire.”

New referrals are no longer being accepted for the chronic pain service at RJAH, but any patients currently under the care of the team will continue to be seen up until 31 March 2019.

Anyone with any specific concerns is advised to contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) at RJAH. The PALS team can be reached by calling 01691 404606, or by emailing

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