Pain Management Techniques and The Benefits of Reducing Harm from Opioids Education Workshop

Senior female patient consulting her physician or doctor

Leading on pain prescribing and problematic polypharmacy, Anthony Carter a Strategic Pharmacist working at NHS Greater Manchester (Manchester locality) discusses the Pain Management Techniques and The Benefits of Reducing Harm from Opioids Education Workshop.

I am committed to optimising personalised care for adults with chronic non-cancer pain and improving opioid stewardship systemwide. More than half a million people in England are prescribed opioid analgesia for longer than 3 months, the majority having chronic pain that is not associated with cancer. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance states that opioids should not be offered to manage chronic non-cancer pain as harm out-weighs the benefit.​

In my current role within strategy, I conducted a pilot over 6 months to gain some hands-on experience on what the role of a pharmacist could be in helping to reduce high dose opioids for patients with chronic non-cancer pain.

Current evidence suggests doses of opioids exceeding 120mg oral morphine equivalent (OME) per day offer no additional benefit in controlling chronic non-cancer pain but pose an increased risk of harmful side effects. I wanted to evaluate the impact a pharmacist could have and how the system can work collaboratively towards the same goal.

After the pilot, the Manchester Medicines Optimisation Team ran several quality improvement projects across Manchester GP practices that were focused on reducing dependency forming medicines. The feedback from colleagues working in primary care was that there was a need for education and training on opioids and how to improve pain management.

Through collaborative working with Health Innovation Manchester and clinical colleagues from across Greater Manchester, we sought to address the feedback by designing and delivering the “Pain management techniques and the benefits of reducing harm from opioids” virtual workshop for health and care professionals.  This was a key opportunity to come together, learn, share experiences, challenges, and best practice.

At the workshop we heard from Dr David McCarthy Consultant in Anesthesia and Pain Medicine from Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust who highlighted some of the issues he sees in practice, provided an overview of current guidance, and shared some pain management tools and resources.

Dr Ashwin Khanna GPwSI Pain Medicine from Northern Care Alliance, spoke as a GP about what primary care prescribers could do to work with patients to reduce opioid use.

Lisa Jones who lives with chronic pain, described her daily experience, and shared how she has worked with clinicians to find ways to manage her pain.

Watch the Pain Management Workshop here:


If you missed the workshop you can watch it here and for any further information please email

This work is driven by Manchester Pain Collaborative, Safety Integrating Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation (IPMO) Group and Greater Manchester Medicines Management Group (GMMMG). It forms part of a wider Health Innovation Manchester Medicines Safety Programme with the recording and supporting slide deck included in a Greater Manchester Opioids Reduction Resources Hub which is currently being developed.  For more information please email:

Back to top