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Inadequate pain management: myth, stigma and professional fear
  1. William Notcutt1,2,
  2. Gerda Gibbs1,2
  1. 1James Paget University Hospital, Great Yarmouth NR31 6LA, UK
  2. 2School of Medicine, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr William Notcutt, James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Lowestoft Road, Great Yarmouth NR31 6LA, UK; willy{at}


The ability to effectively relieve pain has been available to health professionals for generations. It should be a primary concern in treating patients but is still often given a low priority or ignored completely. Apathy toward the suffering experienced may be mixed with a fear of the use of the common analgesics. Our own prejudices and ignorance can also contribute. Failures in the primary education of health professionals may be the single most important cause and the identity of the remedy. Raising the profile of pain as an essential educational topic and, more broadly, realising that this is a major public health matter are the way forward.

  • (MeSH)
  • Pain
  • palliative care
  • medical education
  • healthcare ethics
  • pain management, medical education & training
  • medical ethics

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  • Competing interests WN has undertaken consultancy work for several pharmaceutical companies and participated in many commercial and other research projects.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.