Crimond Surgery honoured for ‘bright idea’ when treating chronic pain

A GP surgery from Crimond has been recognised by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) for its innovative approach to supporting patients with chronic pain.

This is an edited version of an article first published by the Buchan Observer.

The practice team at Crimond Medical Centre has been awarded an RCGP Bright Ideas Award for its Opioid Patient Support and Reduction Programme. This reduces the use of opioid painkillers whilst supporting patients suffering from chronic pain to better understand how their condition can be managed alternatively.

A team consisting of a GP, practice-based pharmacist, and practice manager would meet twice a week with a patient to review their pain medication, discuss the problems associated with opiates and create a plan to reduce the medication.

These meetings have helped patients to better understand their chronic pain and to take responsibility over their health.

Over time, the patients’ quality of life and health improved because of the reduction in their opiate usage.

The Royal College of GPs recognises excellence and innovation in general practice through its annual Bright Ideas Awards.

The awards are presented to healthcare professionals and patients who have identified, tried and tested better solutions for treating and caring for patients.

The Bright Ideas Award won by the team at Crimond Medical Centre celebrates ideas that have taken a fresh approach to addressing a primary care problem and have demonstrated tremendous value.

Caroline Ironside, practice manager, reflected on receiving the award: “I entered Crimond Medical Centre for the RCGP Bright Ideas Awards because I felt our patient-centred opiate reduction programme had a great impact on our patients suffering with chronic pain.

“Because opiate use is high across the world, to almost epidemic levels, I felt that our programme had such a positive result which could be mirrored at any medical centre in the UK,” she continued.

“Winning the Award means a lot to the practice because our opiate reduction programme is not directly funded by the NHS.

“All the work has been done by our GPs and the practice team.

“We took a pay cut to promote and introduce the programme and employed a practice pharmacist one day a week.

“The positive changes in the patients far outweigh the costs to the practice, especially if they can potentially save the life of a person in future.

“The plan is for our practice to continue the good work and share our bright Idea with a wider medical audience to prevent more people losing their lives to opiate use.”

The RCGP is organising training workshops and webinars across the UK to help GPs learn from these ideas and continue to improve and deliver high-quality care to their patients to adapt to the changing primary care landscape.

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