A new support group created by a Moray man hopes to help people in the Grampian Health Board region who suffer from chronic pain.
Sharing tips on how individuals manage to deal with chronic pain issues is just one area that Forres sufferer Chris Bridgeford hopes the new social media site will be able to provide help and assistance.
“Our lives should not be defined by our condition – we are allowed to have fun at times,” Chris told insideMoray, adding: “We just do not need to be serious and miserable all of the time.
“People suffering from chronic pain need to be reminded that they are not suffering alone – and no matter how bad a day they are having there is someone else out there who is suffering even more.
“So bringing joy into someone else’s life through the new group just might make a world of difference if we, as members, truly invest ourselves in this online community.”
Chris was a leading campaigner in moves to restore a Chronic Pain Clinic to Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin, recruiting the help of Moray MSP Richard Lochhead who brought up the issue with NHS Grampian’s chief executive Malcolm Wright.
That produced an undertaking to restore a specialist unit to the Moray hospital, ending the current situation where sufferers need to travel to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for treatment sessions.
Chris said: “We truly are the forgotten of the many sections of community that need help from our health service and we badly need a pain service at Dr Gray’s. It is horrendously difficult for us to travel to Aberdeen – in fact in some cases it is just impossible.
“Now we have been promised a new clinic by the end of the year – but as a stopgap I would like to see a temporary specialist making the journey from Aberdeen to Elgin to hold clinics until a permanent solution is available.”
Despite having suffered from chronic pain for 38 years it is only recently that Chris had realised that his experiences with the Health Service were far from unique. Now he has learned that a cross-party group has existed at the Scottish Government for 12 years and can boast to having helped establish a specialist centre in Glasgow.
“That is all well and good – but if Aberdeen is too far for us then Glasgow is not exactly realistic either,” Chris pointed out, insisting that people must maintain pressure on politicians and Health Board officials to ensure that action is taken as soon as possible.
The new online group ‘Affa Sair’ has now been established on Facebook with Chris inviting sufferers to join and share in their common goal.