It was the evening of 18th October. Winds were gathering pace as Storm Babet was round the corner. As the lights were being switched off and buildings being locked on UCLan’s Preston premises, individuals parked their cars on the Victoria car park and made their way to the Harrington building. In the lecture theatre, lights were bright and bright smiles of organisers welcomed guests to the NFHW’s latest public engagement seminar on ‘Understanding Chronic Pain’.

Professor Romesh Gupta, chairman of NFHW welcomed the guests and the audience and explained the concept behind these public seminars. Mr Russel Hogarth greeted the audience on behalf of UCLan

Dr Elizabeth (Lizzie) MacPhie, consultant rheumatologist and clinical lead for central Lancashire’s Moving Well, opened the seminar with a broad introduction of Lancashire’s Moving Well service and the treatments it covers, and what it does not cover. Pathways to access treatments, especially self-referral, were explained.

Sanja Maretic, clinical specialist osteopath, delivered a very passionate and enthusiastic session. She led the audience
participation to illustrate just how difficult it is to measure pain,

discomfort and the consequential effects between different people and their pain thresholds.

Chronic Pain seminar

To try and visualise pain Sanja presented a self-portrait by Frida Kahlo, a woman who was destined to live in pain after an accident until she died.

Joanne Bishop ,clinical lead for pain and CFM/ME and clinical specialist physiotherapist reflected on the personal effect that chronic pain brings to individuals, the emotional stress, anxiety, the feeling of abandonment and isolation. A slide was presented that stated exactly how patients felt after treatment/consultations. Top of the list was ‘I feel better for talking to somebody about my condition’.

The event was closed by the Director of public Health Lancashire County Council. Dr. Sakthi Karunanithi.

A major part of the NFHW seminars is the Q&A sessions. This event had around 40 minutes for Q&A.

This month’s event drew in around 80 attendees and included in the audience were GP’s, senior managers from the local public health office, medical staff and students, yoga teachers, reflexologist and many others.

This public engagement seminar was organised by the NFHW in partnership with the School of Medicine and the University of Central Lancashire. NFHW thanks everybody that helped make the evening a success, especially the volunteer medical students for their help, UCLAN for the facilities, and the speakers for such an interesting event.


Reporting by Ian Smith and Abhay Vaidya

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All photos by Ian Smith