The aim of this project is to understand the challenges to the equitable provision of an integrated spinal and chronic pain pathway across the North East and North Cumbria area to support the reduction of polypharmacy.

Currently, the focus of the regional priority is chronic pain which includes back pain. There is also an urgent need to reduce the rate of opioids and gabapentanoiods prescribed in NENC, and this must be done in a way that is sustainable, which addresses the underlying direct and indirect drivers of this prescribing behaviour. HI NENC are requesting the ICB and PHE acknowledges this need as a top public health and patient safety priority.

Much work is happening across the region to reduce opioid prescriptions. However, for the progress to be sustained, it will need ongoing support of services in the community.

Pain and its management are a big inhibitor to physical activity. MSK health is one of the first lines of defence to maintain cardiovascular and mental health, allowing people to stay active, connected, resilient, financially secure to allow the maintenance of purpose and meaning in their lives.

Delivery in the NENC

HI NENC is engaging with stakeholders to understand the Pain and Spinal Pain landscape across the regions, and in doing so, becoming familiar with the challenges and obstacles that Pain and MSK healthcare professionals experience.

HI NENC in collaboration with the Applied Research Collaborative are facilitating the establishment of a North East North Cumbria Pain Community of Practise, who come together quarterly.

The aim of the Community is to promote good evidenced practice, share learnings, shape and inform regional pathways and collaborate with each other, empowering the MSK leaders at every level. It is made up of AHPs’, nurses’ pharmacists and medics at various touchpoints on the chronic and spinal pathways. This community facilitates the creation of contacts across the region and nationally to support the NHS and ICS aims.


HI NENC have created an NHS Futures Platform to support the work of the pain community of practise. If you would like to be invited to the community or platform, please contact [email protected] or request an invitation via North East and North Cumbria Pain Community of Practise – FutureNHS Collaboration Platform

Pain and Opioid Management Resources