Implementing a tailored cognitive therapy programme for patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain

Close-up of a telephone.

Salford residents living with chronic pain will soon have access to individually tailored programmes of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This 12 month project, supported by NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group’s research and innovation fund, aims to improve patient care for people who experience chronic widespread pain by offering telephone-delivered CBT as part of the management of chronic musculoskeletal (MSK) pain.

Prof Karina Lovell presenting at April 2016's training for PWPs

Prof Karina Lovell presenting at April 2016’s training for PWPs.

We’ve previously worked with a number of Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) services as part of our work around COINCIDE, and the subsequent roll-out of the training. This work will build on our experience of working with IAPT services, through implementing and evaluating the evidence-based use of telephone-delivered CBT outlined in the recent British Medical Journal-published MUSICIAN study. This initial randomised control trial involved Professor Karina Lovell and research teams from the Universities of Aberdeen and Manchester. The trial demonstrated that a short course of telephone-administered CBT was effective in improving and sustaining the health of patients over a 24 month period.

We are working with Six Degrees, a local social enterprise and provider of IAPT services, to deliver this telephone-based CBT platform. This will be delivered by their trained Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs) to form part of a newly developed care pathway for people who experience chronic MSK pain.

The CLAHRC’s role is to provide the support and training to deliver the intervention, as well as working with academics colleagues, specialist practitioners, GPs and patients to ensure that the appropriate referral pathways are in place. We will also be evaluating how this process has worked, whilst identifying key elements associated with the effective implementation of this into practice.

Anthony Jones, Professor of Neuro-rheumatology at the University of Manchester, says: “This is a potentially very important study that will pave the way for all patients with chronic pain to have access to cognitive therapy from their homes at an early stage of their symptoms. If successful, we envisage rolling this out in Salford and Greater Manchester.”

We are currently speaking with our local partners to set up the appropriate referral routes and processes. As soon as these are established, referrals to this new service will be invited from NHS Salford CCG GPs, along with and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust’s pain and MSK clinics.

If you would like any further information, please contact Kate Woodward-Nutt, Project Manager.