A new role within the Pain Management Unit at Ipswich Hospital means patients will be able to be treated sooner and can be well supported through chronic pain conditions.
Helen Skinner is now an advanced physiotherapy practitioner in pain management. Working both at the hospital and in the community, she and her small team of physiotherapists are able to treat people who live with chronic pain conditions. Helen is also able to support those patients who are new to the service.
The main change that will make a difference to her patients and Helen day to day is that she can now carry out medical prescribing as part of her responsibilities – something she used to have to find someone else to do.
This means patients can now be triaged to see either Helen or the pain clinic’s nurse specialist, rather than a consultant. They can then oversee the whole episode of care, whether that is to treat back or neck pain, fibromyalgia or chronic headaches.
Helen, who has worked at Ipswich Hospital in the pain clinic for 12 years, said: “It makes things more efficient and means the patient is getting to the right person sooner.
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“For me it seemed like the really obvious thing to do, it’s just stepping outside the box a bit. Chronic pain management is often seen as too specialist, so it’s trying to get people to see it’s a really common problem, it just needs managing differently.”