A national strategy targeting chronic pain patients in England would be a "vital step" in improving patient care, it is claimed.
Chronic pain affects more people than coronary heart disease and diabetes combined but there is still no formal framework in England to help promote more effective treatment, the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition (CPPC) reports.
It says chronic pain includes conditions such as severe back pain or depression and it is a common misconception that it only affects the elderly.
Chair of the CPPC Dr Beverly Collett urged the government to adopt a national strategy to "help the many millions of people who are suffering from this silent epidemic".
She suggested the current system would rather compensate people for not working when in reality many patients are desperate for their pain to be managed and to get on with their lives.
The CPPC is currently running an online petition which calls for pain to be routinely assessed with the same priority as temperature, blood pressure, respiratory and pulse rates.
It argues an earlier assessment of pain could help with the prevention and treatment of chronic pain for patients in the UK.
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