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Oswestry hospital's service for chronic pain sufferers 'too fragile' to continue

By Jonny Drury | Mid Wales | Health | Published:

A chronic pain service at Oswestry's Orthopaedic Hospital is to cease in March due to new guidelines making it 'too fragile' to continue.

Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital

The service, which aims to reduce suffering and enhance quality of life, in addition to providing a reduction in the pain problem, will end on March 31 as a result of changes to provision.

It will impact 50 patients in Shropshire, however 400 will be hit in Mid and North Wales.

The changes in guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have led to a reduction in patients being referred to the hospital, with an internal review finding the service is too fragile to continue safely as a result of operational and clinical challenges, which have resulted in a small clinical team delivering the service to all patients.

Mark Brandreth, chief executive of the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, 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.

Distressed

“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.”

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Dr Julie Davies of NHS Shropshire CCG said safety of the patients was paramount.

Health campaigner and Newtown councillor Joy Jones has been contacted by residents in her area who are distressed regarding the closure.

She said: "I spoke to a resident who has been left feeling completely devastated. This service is extremely important to patients that need it.

"If you are living in constant pain it is so important that help and support is easily available.

"Without this service it will have an affect on people's wellbeing and health. It could push extra pressures on the already strained GPs services as people turn to them for the help they need.

"The government needs to ensure that important services are properly funded as this is a service that helps people cope with terrible pain and in some circumstances continue with there daily lives."

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.

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