BACKGROUND: Chronic widespread pain (CWP) is a major public health problem. Many people experiencing CWP experience mental health problems such as anxiety or depression. Complete relief of skeletal and body pain symptoms is unlikely but with appropriate treatment the impact upon quality of life, functioning and mental health symptoms can be reduced. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is widely used for a range of health conditions and can have short and long-term improvements in patients with CWP. This research aimed to explore, from a professional stakeholder perspective, the implementation of a local Pain Platform offering a stepped care approach for interventions including telephone delivered CBT (T-CBT).
METHODS: Fourteen professional stakeholders holding various roles across primary and secondary care services within the Pain Platform took part in semi-structured interviews. Their views and experiences of the implementation of the Pain Platform were explored. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed according to Normalisation Process Theory (NPT).
RESULTS: Professional stakeholders were positive about the Pain Platform and its potential to overcome previously identified existing access issues to psychological interventions for CWP patients. It was considered a valuable part of ensuring that patients' preferences and needs are more readily addressed. In some circumstances, however, introducing psychological interventions to patients was considered challenging and the introduction of new referral processes was raised concerns. To ensure sustainability more work is required to reduce professional isolation and ensure efficient referral procedures between primary and secondary care services are established to reduce concerns over issues related to clinical governance and potential risk to patient.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings provide professional insight into the key challenges of introducing a Pain Platform incorporating psychological support across primary and secondary care services within a local service. These included development of sustainable procedures and closer working relationships. Areas requiring future development are identified.