Where are we now?

Chronic pain services in Scotland: Where are we now?

This report presents a detailed analysis of the current care provision for chronic pain services in Scotland and makes recommendations for NHS boards, local Service Improvement Groups, the Scottish Government and for the National Chronic Pain Steering Group, to be achieved by 2016.

The information in the report is designed to help local NHS boards target their improvement work where it is most needed.


After publishing our report Chronic Pain in Scotland: Where are we now? an error in the data relating to the waiting time for pain psychology services in Forth Valley was identified. The report (and accompanying local report compendium) published on 28 April states that as of September 2013, the mean (and range) waiting time was 36 (30-64) weeks. However, the actual mean (and range) waiting time at that time was 78 (0-124) weeks and we have now corrected the report and local report compendium accordingly.

Key findings

  • Chronic pain services varied considerably across the country and particularly so in relation to ease of access, type of service and scope of service provision across all levels of care.
  • NHS boards were at different stages in terms of developing their Service Improvement Groups and improvement plans.
  • Considerable efforts were being put into producing local patient information and advice resources aimed at supporting self-management. This presents the opportunity to use the best of these and develop a national approach for Scotland, using http://www.chronicpainscotland.org/ to widely share advice and resources.
  • There was little evidence of any direct involvement of, or integration with, primary care GPs and/or Allied Health Professionals, other than in three NHS boards at the time of data collection, but most NHS boards reported this as a key priority.
  • There was varying and mainly low levels of interaction with service users and the third sector in determining how services were organised and delivered locally. However, Service Improvement Groups reported that they were starting to address this.
  • There were few NHS boards able to demonstrate coherent chronic pain pathways or evidence of joined-up services between primary and secondary care.

Published Date: 28 April 2014


Chronic Pain useful links

Chronic pain has a considerable impact on the quality of life. Find out more on the Chronic Pain overview page.

Latest media release: Chronic pain services improving but variation in standard of care continues.