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GPs 'failing to manage pain post-Shipman'

By Christian Duffin

Pain management is often suboptimal in primary care because many GPs are reluctant to use strong pain killers, says RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada.

Speaking at the NICE annual conference in Birmingham today, Dr Gerada said an 'unintended consequence' of the inquiry into serial killer Harold Shipman was that GPs have been left reluctant to prescribe strong painkillers, particularly patients with non-malignant pain.

She said: 'We are not managing patients' pain well in general practice. One of the problems is an unintended consequence of the Harold Shipman inquiry. GPs are very reluctant to use heavy duty analgesics on their patients generally, and also for things that are not malignant, like osteoporosis. We deal with it very badly.'

NHS medical director professor Sir Bruce Keogh said at the conference that he had met representatives of the RCGP and other Royal Colleges to discuss ways of improving pain services in the NHS.
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GPs are reluctant to prescibe painkillers, Dr Gerada says

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