Patients from Scotland travel up to 500 miles south of the border for chronic pain treatment, it has emerged.
NHS Tayside and NHS Grampian say they have referred people to the specialist service at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) in Bath.
The RNHRD has a centre for rehabilitation for adults and teenagers and takes referrals from all over the UK.
The revelation that patients are being sent hundreds of miles for treatment came in a parliamentary answer to Highlands MSP Mary Scanlon, a campaigner for better pain clinics.
Mrs Scanlon, the convener of a cross-party group on health, asked what action was being taken by NHS boards in response to a Quality Improvement Scotland report that services were lacking.
Public Health Minister Shona Robison said: “NHS boards are being asked by the long-term conditions collaborative to include chronic pain in their long-term conditions delivery plans.
“The North of Scotland Planning Group is considering the development of a pain management service in its area, rather than sending people to the pain management hospital in Bath.”
The North of Scotland Planning Group is a collaboration between NHS boards in Grampian, Highland, Tayside, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.
A NHS Tayside spokes-woman said their local pain clinics had treated more than 4,500 people over the past three years. Of those, 80 were referred to Bath.
She said consultants from Bath often travelled north to assess patients.
The spokeswoman added: “Within Tayside, we have numerous services available in the pain service and a comprehensive range of intensive therapies.”
NHS Grampian said it used the service in Bath for the first time this year, sending five people there for four or five days of intensive treatment.
NHS Shetland and NHS Western Isles said they ran their own anaesthetist-led clinics locally and had not sent anyone to Bath.
A spokeswoman for NHS Highland said: “We are unaware of any Highland patients sent to Bath. We have a limited chronic pain management service in Highland and some patients have been referred to Aberdeen.
“We are actively pursuing an improved service for people suffering chronic pain in Highland.”
Mrs Scanlon said: “Under devolution you would expect that chronic pain services could be found in Scotland.
“The thought of sending patients suffering from chronic pain hundreds of miles in order to see a specialist is quite unthinkable in modern Scotland.
“I will be calling on the government to ensure there is the equality of access and appropriate pain services in Scotland.”
Richard Lowes, a partner at the Bath office of BLB Solicitors, said “”We are truly fortunate in Bath to have the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases on our doorstep. It really is a national centre of excellence for the treatment of chronic pain. However, as a solicitor with a particular interest in chronic pain disorders, I am very aware of the fact that other parts of the country are not so fortunate.””
“”I act for clients from many parts of the country and regularly see the disparity in available treatment for people with similar medical conditions, but residing in different areas.””