Glasgow Pain Management Programme ‘Bridging the Gap’ Patient Conference 2016

Here, colleagues from the Glasgow, Pain Management Programme provide a write up on the recent annual patient conference - Bridging the Gap. It goes into detail about the importance of co-production approaches to pain management, as well as the development the event itself.

A big thanks for sharing their info to Fraser Bell, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist, Scottish National Residential Pain Management Programme - & Rachel Wylie, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist, Glasgow Pain Service - New Victoria Hospital -

"It has been great seeing all the different things that are out there for us. I didn’t know most of this stuff existed until today.” Graduate of GPMP

“This would be a truly ground breaking piece of work in terms of co-production.” Gavin Paterson, Development Officer, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland

Background to Project

1.pngIn 2014 as part of the pain service’s drive to deliver the Quality Strategy’s aims of providing safe, effective and person-centred care (The Healthcare Quality Strategy, 2010), Fraser Bell and Rachel Wylie (Clinical Specialist Physiotherapists) were awarded funding from NES as part of their AHP Fellowship Scheme. This was specifically aimed at modelling co-productive working within the pain service. Co-production is about exploring how services can be provided, combining knowledge and skills from all stakeholders, with a shift in the balance of power, so all those involved have an equal status and work together to inform positive and sustainable change. Key contacts were made with Third Sector organisations relevant to the field of chronic pain and conducting patient focus groups with patient’s from the Glasgow Pain Management Programme (GPMP).

One of the key aims of the GPMP service is to empower patients so that they “gain greater control over the decisions and actions affecting their health” (WHO, 1998) and make more use of the services beyond the traditional NHS ones that are familiar to them. This sits well with the Quality Strategy, which emphasises the empowerment of an individual and the community in which they live.

Glasgow Pain Management Programme

GPMP is a multi professional service, whereby psychological models of living with chronic pain are introduced alongside wider self management skills and practical exercises, as well as physical movement sessions.  Patients attend this service for a half day session per week, over a 12 week block, followed by 3 and 6 month reviews.  Within the content of the programme a patient graduate returns to speak to the group about their experiences of the programme and staff deliver education on the other resources and support available in the community and third sector.  Pain management programmes are often viewed as the gold standard approach to those living with chronic pain and commonly can be an exit strategy from traditional NHS healthcare to self managing within local communities.

Preparing for the Event

2.pngFollowing the focus groups with graduates of the GPMP a number of themes emerged about the service.  Of the larger themes that emerged one was a feeling of isolation after the programme. Patients also expressed concern about how to continue with self management independently.  At the same time as this, several consultants within the service were reporting that they were receiving re-referrals to their clinics from graduates of the programme for ‘top ups’ in supported self management.  Thus, the idea of a patient conference was developed with an aim of not repeating the messages from the programme but seeking to aid engagement with other agencies– along the theme of ‘Bridging the Gap’ from NHS services to the third sector.

A number of meetings took place with stakeholders and patient graduates in order to plan the event.  More than ten third sector organisations were involved (and subsequently attended), alongside The University of Strathclyde (who provided student support for evaluation of the event), Physiotherapy Practice Development and the Patient Centred Collaborative Care.  The Royal Voluntary Service and Glasgow Disability Alliance also provided financial assistance for lunches, workshop speakers and delegates travel.

The Event: ‘Bridging the Gap’ Patient Conference 2016

The patient conference took place in March 2016 with over 60 graduates of the GPMP in attendance alongside 20 members from the third sector, invited speakers,University of Strathclyde students and GPMP staff.  As the key aim of the event was to explore engagement with the third sector and support individuals in maintaining their self management skills the programme represented this with speakers from Glasgow Alliance, ALISS and the Scottish Government, alongside fun event such as laughter yoga andGlasgowmuseum workshops.  A stall holder area was set up alongside an informal tea and coffee area for networking with peers and for students from theUniversityofStrathclydeto evaluate the day.  Glasgow Alliance also provided a social media reporter for the day to capture informal comments about the day. Patient volunteers from the GPMP were on hand to ensure smooth running of the event.  This was alongside other patient graduates who ran a workshop based on their ongoing work with Pain Concern in providing education about chronic pain in primary care and sharing their experiences of living well with chronic pain.


Stall Holders


Student evaluation alongside informal meetings


The event was evaluated with support from students from The University of Strathclyde.  Data captured included demographic data, outcome data on self management and qualitative feedback, and is still awaited fromStrathclydeUniversity.

Questionnaire responses


Qualitative feedback

Engagement beyond the event

“It has been great seeing all the different things that are out there for us. I didn’t know most of this stuff existed until today.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed each workshop and meeting other people.  It spurred me on to try a local Tai Chi class and to be more active generally and more positive.”

“I hope they have this again next year as I will definitely come back”

 “I was at laughter yoga this morning and I can’t remember when I had so much fun. I was quite self-conscious at the beginning but we couldn’t help laughing. It was just like being a child again. I’m definitely going to do it at home as I think it will really help.”

Meeting others

“I’m enjoying speaking to other people. You realise that it’s not only you who is going through it.”

“Content was brilliant – great to meet up with other graduates.”

Third Sector Engagement and Feedback

Of the organisations that attended feedback was received in how they felt delegates had engaged with their services…

“I found it really interesting and well organised.  Please pass on my contact details to ensure we are included in any future events of this kind” Maureen McAllister, Arthritis Care.

“That was a really fantastic event on Friday.  This would be a truly ground breaking piece of work in terms of co-production.” Gavin Paterson, Development Officer, Health and Social CareAllianceScotland (theALLIANCE). 


Laughter Yoga


Talks included an update on National Developments within the Pain Services.

Providing a Sustainable Model

The event was planned with sustainability in the forefront of our minds.  It was hoped that if the conference was judged to be successful that it would be repeated as an annual event.  Those third sector organisations that helped to fund the conference have already indicated their desire for continued partnership working.  Additionally, two other organisations have been in contact since the event requesting involvement next year. 

The GPMP also now have an established bank of volunteers for future engagement work.  Therefore there is an enthusiastic group of stakeholders who will hopefully be able to take the event forwards in planning for next year.