Legal and social aspects of pain medicine

  • Lorraine E. de Gray
    Lorraine E de Gray MD LLM (Medical Law) FRCA FFPMRCA is a Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust, UK. Conflict of Interest: none declared
    Search for articles by this author


      Pain is the most common reason for patients to see a doctor. Socio-economic issues including unemployment and difficulty accessing education are common in such patients. Pain is the third leading cause for absence from work. Patients frequently seek support from their multidisciplinary pain team for welfare support and staying in or returning to employment or education. Pain physicians perform a range of intervention procedures and need to have a clear grasp of the law of consent. They are also called on to give expert evidence in personal injury and medical negligence claims where claimants have been left with chronic pain. This paper explores the legal and social infrastructure, and useful knowledge that should be at the fingertips of all those practising in the field of pain medicine.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Anaesthesia & Intensive Care Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


      1. Department of Health. Long term conditions compendium of information. Third edition. Available at:

        • Breivik H.
        • Eisenberg E.
        • O'Brien T.
        The individual and societal burden of chronic pain in Europe: the case for strategic prioritisation and action to improve knowledge and availability of appropriate care.
        BMC Public Health. 2013; 13 ([Open Access]): 1229
      2. Equality Act Guidance,

      3. Universal Credit guidance:

      4. Personal Independent Payment guidance:

      5. Disabled Parking Badge Application guidance:

      6. National Careers Service website:

      7. Equal Lives – Free from disabling barriers:

      8. Care Act 2014.

      9. Decision making and consent – Guidance on professional standards and ethics for doctors.

      10. Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board [2015] SC 11 [2015] 1 AC 1430.

      11. Sidaway v Board of Governors of the Bethlehem Royal Hospital and others [1985] 871 AC.

      12. Mental Capacity Act 2005.

      13. Care Act 2014.

      14. Expert evidence – a guide from the Crown Prosecution Service

      15. Diffusion: UCLan J Undergrad Res. June 2014; 7
      16. Jones v Kaney [2011] UKSC 13.

      17. General Medical Council v Meadow [2006] EWCA Civ1390.