On 4th June 2015, a study day at the Royal College of Anaesthetists in London considering medico-legal issues in pain medicine was attended by Andrew Atkinson, an Associate Solicitor at BLB Solicitors and specialist in litigation involving chronic pain. The event was organised by Dr Rajesh Munglani and Dr Sanjeeva Gupta, leading consultants in pain medicine.
Delegates heard talks from Consultants in Pain Medicine, Consultant Psychiatrists and specialist Barristers. One of the hot topics which caused noticeable unrest and debate among the delegates was the issue of ‘Consent’ when providing any form of medical treatment. The topic was raised by Barrister, Philip Turton, of Ropewalk Chambers, following a recent decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board  UKSC 11.
Other notable talks came from Dr Jon Valentine and Dr Nicholas Padfield, Consultants in Pain Medicine, on medico-legal examinations and reports. Dr Rajesh Munglani himself gave a talk on the determinants of chronic widespread pain and reviewed a wealth of literature and statistical data available.
One question arising from Dr Munglani’s talk, and a topic to be discussed later in the year at the Annual Cambridge Medico-Legal Conference, was the affect of litigation on pain and what happens to Claimant’s pain once litigation is concluded. No strong views were proffered on the day, with a lack of published empirical data or evidence on the issue to support a view one way or another. It will be interesting to hear what Dr Neil Edwards, Consultant in Pain Medicine, and Dr Paul Aylard, Consultant Psychiatrist, have to say on the subject at Cambridge in September 2015.
Andrew said “this was a very informative and enjoyable day and it was good to see the level of interaction between the speakers and the delegates. Clearly, some speakers touched upon some controversial areas and these will no doubt form the subject of further debate at forthcoming conferences.“