The eight million people in the UK who have chronic pain have to wait an average six years just to be diagnosed and a further three years to have their condition treated adequately, a study has revealed.
Most other European countries have shorter waiting times. Compared with Italy, France and Belgium for example, people in the UK are forced to wait twice the length of time for diagnosis, the Pfizer-sponsored Pain Proposal report said.
Four in 10 people say their condition bars them from working and one in every four say their chronic pain has caused them to be depressed.
The survey questioned 2,251 people in the UK who endure chronic pain.
Another study shows that people with the condition need a total of 4.6 million appointments a year, which are said to cost £69 million.
Pain medicine consultant Beverly Collett, who chairs the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition, said: “Chronic pain not only imposes a huge burden on people’s lives but seriously impacts society.
“Inefficiencies in management of chronic pain mean that people with the condition are either not being treated or are waiting years for adequate management, resulting in many people unable to achieve their full potential in the workplace.”
Copyright Press Association 2010