Cancer pain management in Lanarkshire: A community-based audit

David Oxenham, Robert Duncan, Moira Fischbacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: A prospective, longitudinal audit of pain management in patients with cancer was conducted in an unselected community population in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Methods: Using a modified Delphi technique, a recording form was developed and a dedicated project manager was appointed to oversee the development and implementation of the audit. Community staff recorded pain level and analgesic prescribing on consecutive home visits to patients with cancer-related pain. Areas of good and poor prescribing were assessed using standards previously developed for the Scottish Cancer Pain Audit. These results were fed back to prescribers in a variety of ways and used as a focus for a programme of primary care-based education. Results: Five hundred and forty-one patients have been entered in the audit between May 1999 and end October 2002. A total of 3259 visits have been recorded and 88% of general practices in Lanarkshire submitted forms during this period. Pain scores were recorded in 90% of visits. Specific gaps in prescribing practice were identified. Conclusion: The audit demonstrated that it is possible to engage primary care teams in a continuing audit of cancer pain management, which is achievable within the context of normal care. It provided a means to collect and analyse serial data on pain level and pain management and to identify areas of prescribing in need of improvement. Concerted efforts to establish the legitimacy and relevance of the project in the eyes of key stakeholders proved fundamental to encouraging longer-term behavioural change in the management of cancer pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-713
Number of pages6
JournalPalliative Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2003


  • Audit
  • Cancer pain
  • Palliative care
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Nursing(all)


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