The National Pain Audit and the Transparency Agenda

The National Pain Audit was initiated to collect detailed data from specialist services in England and Wales which treat patients with chronic and persistent pain. The audit aims to improve NHS services for people affected by chronic and persistent pain and has successfully established a national data collection system which enables services to monitor patient outcomes and record detailed case mix data.

Areas of data collection include patient case mix data, demographic data, patient reported outcome measures, patient satisfaction measures, patients ability to work, diagnosis, treatments and organisational data describing the structure, staffing and facilities available from individual pain services and clinics.

The Audit covers services based in both primary and secondary care settings. Data collected during the period May 2011 to January 2012 from new patients who consented to participate at the clinics.

The National Pain Audit on DATA.GOV.UK


What information is being made available?

  • Patient demographic data (age, sex)
  • Diagnosis data (International Classification of Diseases codes: ICD10)
  • Treatment data (treatment groups)
  • Patient reported indicators (work status, ability to work, satisfaction with service, level of advice received)
  • Pre-treatment Patient Reported Outcome Measures (Brief Pain inventory, EuroQol 5D, VAS)
  • Post-treatment (6 month) Patient Reported Outcome Measures (Brief Pain inventory, EuroQol 5D, VAS)

Data is provided at individual clinic/ provider level. Where possible the minimum, maximum, average and median scores for each data field have been provided. These data sheets do not contain any patient identifiable data.

Using and interpreting the data

The data contained in the CSV files were first published in December 2012 in the National Pain Audit 2012 report.

Data from the National Pain Audit requires careful interpretation and the information should not be looked at in isolation when assessing standards of care. Please refer to the data description file and the National Pain audit 2012 report when examining the data file.

Data is provided at individual clinic level and relates to new patients seen during the period May 2011 ā€“ Jan 2012 who explicitly consented to participate in the audit. Participating patients were requested to complete both a pre-treatment and post treatment (6 month) patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) questionnaires.

Accessing the data

Data from the National Pain Audit for the period 2011/2012 will be made available in CSV file format. The data are also being made available on the DATA.GOV.UK website.

What does the data cover?

The National Pain Audit data shows case mix data collected at each of the participating clinics. Patient age, sex, diagnosis (ICD10), pain type, source of referral and treatment types are shown.

The National Pain Audit data includes patient reported outcome measures which access the severity of pain and the impact on daily functions. These outcome measures have been recorded prior to treatment and then subsequently 6 months after the patients initial appointment at a specialist NHS pain service. The difference between these scores is referred to as the 'average health gain' and these scores have been calculated in the form of unadjusted and also adjusted scores. The adjusted scores take into account a series of factors such as the case mix at each clinic and have been adjusted so that the figures of different clinics can be directly compared.

The outcome measures are from the following sources: The Brief Pain Inventory short form (severity scores and interference scores have been calculated) and the EuroQol 5D questionnaire.

The main features of the Brief Pain Inventory:

  • Purpose: EQ-5Dā„¢ is a standardised instrument for use as a measure of health outcome.
  • Assessment areas: Applicable to a wide range of health conditions and treatments, the EQ-5D health questionnaire provides a simple descriptive profile and a single index value for health status.
  • Responsiveness: Responds to both behavioral and pharmacological pain interventions
  • Method: Self-reported via questionnaire
  • Time required: Five minutes
  • Scoring: No scoring algorithm, but "worst pain" or the arithmetic mean of the four severity items can be used as measures of pain severity; the arithmetic mean of the seven interference items can be used as a measure of pain interference
  • Reliability: Cronbach alpha reliability ranges from 0.77 to 0.91

The main features of the EuroQol 5D questionnaire:

  • Purpose: To assess the severity of pain and the impact of pain on daily functions
  • Assessment areas: Severity of pain, impact of pain on daily function, location of pain, pain medications and amount of pain relief in the past 24 hours or the past week
  • Responsiveness: Responds to both behavioural and pharmacological pain interventions
  • Method: Primarily designed for self-completion by respondents and is ideally suited for use in postal surveys, in clinics and face-to-face interviews
  • Time required: It is cognitively simple, taking only a few minutes to complete
  • Scoring: An EQ-5D health state may be converted to a single summary index by applying a formula that essentially attaches weights to each of the levels in each dimension. This formula is based on the valuation of EQ-5D health states.

Which level of data is being reported?

The data is provided at individual clinic level with the NHS provider (NHS trust or Primary Care Trust) indicated in the appropriate column. Data was collected from participating services.

What period does the data cover?

Data is provided at individual clinic level and relates to new patients seen during the period May 2011 ā€“ January 2012 who explicitly consented to participate in the audit. Participating patients were requested to complete both a pre-treatment and post treatment (6 month) patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) questionnaires.