Pilot project will streamline help for patients with low back or radicular pain

Posted on in Community services, Services

Patients suffering from low back and radicular pain in the South Tees and Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) areas will soon benefit from a new pilot project designed to help them manage their own symptoms and, when needed, provide support when those symptoms are more severe.

The pilot, which is due to start this summer, will ensure local patients receive a streamlined service, through improved delivery of local health services for back and radicular pain (commonly known as sciatica).

The project has been funded by the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and Cumbria (AHSN NENC), one of a national network of organisations dedicated to improving healthcare and driving wealth creation through innovation.

Professor Charles Greenough, national clinical director for spinal disorders and consultant spinal surgeon at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “This is an excellent programme which is about making sure that patients receive an evidence-based, comprehensive care pathway for integrated care. It will form the blueprint for the help and advice, and treatment, patients receive from their local GP surgery to hospital specialist services, in line with national best practice. We are very excited to work with our CCG commissioning colleagues and academic partners to be the first to show how these improvements make a difference to local patients.”

The health care ideas, interventions and approaches based on best practice will be tested and used as part of the wider Scaling Up Improvement Programme recently announced by the Health Foundation. Other areas across Cumbria and the North East are due to implement their improved back pain pathway over the next two and a half years.

Dr Andrea Jones of Darlington CCG and GP clinical commissioning lead for the team of commissioners, providers and academic partners sponsoring this programme said: “These timely interventions for patients will lead to a significant improvement in people’s overall quality of life. Severe or chronic back and leg pain is common and this work will improve care for many people across the North East in the longer term, where GPs report a high incidence in the local population suffering these type of problems.”

Experts in measuring healthcare quality and patient outcomes from the North East Quality Observatory System (NEQOS) are supporting the evaluation of this project and will be working with the Centre for Health and Social Evaluation (CHASE) at Teesside University on supporting the evaluation of the wider Scaling Up Improvement Programme.