Improving chronic non-cancer pain management

Reduction of harm from opioids and dependence forming medicines

The North West London (NWL) Opioids Working Group ambition in line with those nationally is to achieve fewer people prescribed oral or transdermal opioids (of any dose) for more than 3 months and fewer people on high dose (>120mg daily Oral Morphine Equivalence) for longer-term (> 6 months). This equates to about 50 patients and 7 patients respectively per PCN (Primary Care Network).

Our resources aim to support clinicians in helping people live well with chronic non-cancer pain, whilst also reducing harm from dependence-forming medicines such as opioids.

Note: The NW London Reduction of Harm from Opioids in Chronic Non-Cancer Pain Programme also includes Dependence Forming Medicines such as benzodiazepines, Z-drugs (such as zopiclone and zolpidem), gabapentinoids and antidepressants.  

We encourage you to use a personalised care approach when supporting people with chronic non-cancer pain. Personalised care means people have choice and control over the way their care is planned and delivered. It is based on ‘what matters’ to them and their individual strengths and needs; shared decision-making is a key component. When entering the shared-decision-making process, prescribers should ensure that patients have the capacity to engage.  

We have collated some resources to support clinicians in taking a personalised care approach to supporting patients with persistent pain. These resources support practices to undertake reviews of patients on opioid and dependence forming medicines, utilising a biopsychosocial approach, from case finding using the NHSBSA Opioids Prescribing Comparators Dashboard to useful webinars on patient review and managing opioid reduction.

You can access the Opioid Prescribing Comparators dashboard | NHSBSA which enables you to obtain the NHS numbers for patients flagged by prescribing comparators through a request to NHSBSA. Refer to dashboard tab: ‘supporting information’ > ‘patient details’ for how to make the request.

Registration for ePACT can be sought by emailing registration@nhsbsa.nhs.ukFurther ePACT training support is available here.

To read more about how NHS England plans to support Integrated Care Systems to optimise personalised care for adults prescribed medicines associated with dependence or withdrawal symptoms, please see this framework published in 2023

NWL has hosted teaching webinars on the topic of Chronic Pain Management and Reduction of Harm from Opioids. Please see resources and recordings related to these webinars below. 

NWL has also been involved in national webinars supporting the national reduction of harm from opioids and dependence forming medicines programme by highlighting our leading approach to chronic non-cancer pain management.

Other national webinars and resources:

Colleagues working for The Academic Health Science Network North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) funded a project to evaluate the impact of an educational video on opioid prescribing. The overall aim of this project was to reduce opioid prescribing in their region. We believe AHSN NENC have created an incredibly educational and informational video which we encourage sharing as a 5-minute teaching opportunity within your teams in North West London – OUCh (Opioid Use Change) Video

If you would like to find out more about our programme in North West London, please contact:

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