Thursday, April 18, 2024

Pain committee to give relief


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Pain management is a major health and societal issue in Barbados with about 25 per cent of the population suffering from some sort of pain, according to Minister of Health Donville Inniss.So critical is the problem that a National Advisory Committee on Chronic Pain Management has been set up to advise the Ministry of Health on issues related to chronic pain and to conduct public awareness campaigns to educate sufferers and care givers.The Health Minister shared this information with an audience attending a recent Barbados Drug Service and Hope Foundation lecture/discussion on pain at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.Lecturer Dr George Drakes spoke extensively about pain management and sickle cell anaemia.The Barbadian specialist with a wealth of experience as lecturer and consultant in the United States, said it was important to understand the fundamentals of pain, which he claimed many people did not. Drakes is also CEO and medical director of the Caribbean Pain Institute.Drakes spoke in depth on the subject, going into detail about pain issues which sickle cell anaemia patients face, telling the audience of health professionals as well as members of the Hope Foundation: “Medicine in its entirety is a team sport. There is no messiah for pain. Every specialty in pain needs a number of people working together to be effective”.Inniss noted that chronic pain was one of the five most frequent reasons for consultation at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He disclosed that he had held discussions with Dr Cindy Flower, chairman of the Pain Management Advisory Committee and the Hope Foundation regarding issues related to priority access at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for people suffering with severe pain. One suggestion in those discussions was the possible creation of a medical day unit designed to provide timely interventions for pain sufferers, at an overall reduced cost to the QEH. Patient and doctor education on pain management and basic issues related to the dispensing of drugs were also discussed. But Inniss said further discussions on such a unit would be influenced by the rate at which the hospital was able to relocate some of its other clinics and administrative units. He however observed that recent changes to the Accident and Emergency Department of QEH had resulted in success in attempts at reducing waiting time.Doctors Cheryl Alexis and Alison Mayers and health insurance executive Orwyn Sandiford were panellists in the discussion: Social and Ethical Issues in Sickle Cell Anemia. (GC)


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