During the initial pilot phase of the pain service at The London Clinic, Jamie Given, the Clinical Nurse Specialist for pain management worked in the hospital for only one day each week but it soon became clear that there was a demand for a full pain service from patients, nurses and consultants. 

As part of his current role Jamie and the education department organises and runs four staff training days each year and each member of the nursing staff must attend one of them so that they remain up to date on pain management techniques. He is currently seeking Royal College of Nursing accreditation for the course.

“Consultants and nurses are very interested and supportive of the pain management service. They realise that it is of great benefit to patients but they also realise that having a pain specialist means that they can always ask me for advice and support about managing pain."

"One consultant finds the pain service so valuable that he brings all of his patients to The London Clinic for treatment, just because good pain management is available here.”

Jamie follows up all patients who are entered into the daily audit system and works closely with the recovery department who manage all patients who have surgery at The Clinic. Nurses are able to bleep him at any time to help attend a patient who is having problems with pain, and consultants use his experience and advice to set up appropriate pain relief for patients who are having surgery, or who experience pain that proves difficult to control.


“Communication with patients, consultants and staff from many departments, including intensive care and all the surgical specialties, is a big part of my job. Pain management is a specialised area and there is a great deal of misunderstanding of how painkillers should be used" 

"Patients and staff worry about the risk of addiction, sometimes avoiding necessary pain relief because of their fears. Reassurance and information is very important to show both how strong painkillers can be used safely and effectively when they are needed.”


Jamie is keen to advance the pain service at The London Clinic still further and realises that there is a lot of work still to be done.

“Patients, and sometimes staff also, are concerned when opiates are recommended for pain control. These are strong drugs, but my experience tells me when they are necessary and our protocols mean that they are always used in line with the best class of evidence, with minimal risk to the patient. Strong opiates need to be handled very carefully, as these are all controlled substances, so it is important to keep everyone informed.”

A major advantage of the pain service in a private setting is that drugs and treatments that are deemed too expensive within the NHS are not restricted.

“We have access to  recently developed pain relieving drugs such as sub-lingual fentanyl tablets, which dissolve instantly and give very good pain relief within minutes, nasal sprays of opioids, as well as a new epidural injection of opioid. Only one opiate is licensed for use via the epidural route and this can be used in patients who have had major surgery. The epidural lasts for 48 hours, and means that they do not need patient controlled analgesic pumps and can rest and recover during this crucial time just after their operation.”

All patients at The London Clinic benefit from this unique private pain management service – but it is essentially free.

“The hospital is a charity, so profits are put back into services: the pain management service is available to all patients and does not incur a charge against their medical insurance.

The benefits to patients are enormous, but they need not be concerned about the cost of this aspect of their treatment. This, and the fact that patients find their pain is dealt with quickly and effectively, means that the pain service has a very good reputation. One that I am keen to maintain so that we can continue to provide the best pain service possible.”