ESCAPE Pain in Cornwall

A new self-management programme for those over the age of 45 and living with persistent pain will be rolled out across Cornwall, following a hugely successful trial.

ESCAPE Pain in Cornwall

The programme looks to improve the way those are referred to, and receive treatment for hip, knee and back conditions (musculoskeletal (MSK)).

Following two years of work across by NHS Kernow, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the very first cohort of people completed the programme at the end of September in Bodmin Community Hospital’s outpatient physiotherapy department.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that exercise should be a core treatment for people with osteoarthritis. Taking this guidance on-board, Cornwall’s NHS ESCAPE Pain rehabilitation programme, run by Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT), integrates self-management and coping strategies with an individualised exercise regimen, so that participants can learn how to manage their symptoms. It is hoped that by doing this, patients are able to become more active and gain confidence in carrying out their daily activities.

Additionally, the programme educates people to understand their condition and supports services in secondary care, by easing pressure on GPs, physiotherapy waiting times and provides sustainable self-management for people with osteoarthritis.

Backed by NHS England’s RightCare programme, robust evaluation shows that ESCAPE Pain is clinically and cost-effective. Studies have followed participants for two and a half years after completing the programme and showed that they had significantly lower healthcare costs.

Using today’s prices, this equates to over £1,500 saved per person over 30 months. These savings arose from reductions in medication use, knee-pain related hospital bed days, secondary care outpatient appointments, diagnostic investigations and GP or other community contacts. For patients, studies have shown the programme not only reduces pain, but improves both physical function and mental wellbeing.

Morissa Livett, a Physiotherapist for CFT commented “delivering the ESCAPE Pain programme has been a hugely positive experience.  Over the course of each session we have seen patients growing in confidence and ability, and becoming empowered to manage their symptoms.

“We have seen our patients achieve goals which they thought were no longer possible and increase their activity in their day to day lives.  As a treatment approach, it is holistic and patient centred, meaning that it provides the opportunity to deliver information and advice that wouldn’t be possible in regular one-to-one sessions.”

Whilst the rollout of ESCAPE Pain across the county is part of a phased approach, the vision for the future is to enable GPs to refer their patients onto the programme.

You can find out more information on ESCAPE Pain and other treatment options on our developing website,