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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-01880: Anas Sarwar (Glasgow)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 August 2016

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide a breakdown of how much the (a) National Chronic Pain Improvement Group and (b) Ministerial Steering Group on Chronic Pain has spent each year on (i) functions, (ii) conferences, (iii) salaries and expenses, broken down by grade, (iv) travel and (v) other items.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 7 September 2016

The National Chronic Pain Improvement Group (NCPIG), a renamed version of the National Chronic Pain Steering Group (NCPSG), operated from December 2014 until March 2016. During this period, it held five meetings and one development day. The total cost for these events was £7,836.25 (this figure includes venue hire, catering, videoconference facilities, etc.).

The Ministerial Steering Group on Chronic Pain (MSG) has so far held four meetings since its inaugural conference in March 2015. The total cost of these meetings has been £111.66 (catering being the only expense incurred).

It is important to note that neither the NCPIG nor the MSG had or has their own budget, with all costs being paid for by the Scottish Government. Neither group had or has salaried employees, with admin and policy support being provided by Scottish Government officials as part of their duties.

In addition, an annual allocation was provided to NHS Dumfries and Galloway to cover several items and work associated with the group. This allocation of £13,073 was initially provided for the financial year 2014-15, but spanned the existence of both the NCPSG and the NCPIG. This allocation was to cover protected time for the NCPSG and NCPIG Chairs (an NHS D and G employee), and initially admin support for the NCPSG. When the group became the NCPIG, admin duties were passed to Scottish Government officials, with the corresponding allocation amount instead being used to support work on the national chronic pain website: (

A second, reduced allocation of £5,285 was given to NHS D and G for the 2015-16 financial year. Specific breakdowns of these allocations are not available centrally.

Finally, travel expenses for both groups were and are offered only to patient members, and the total reimbursement claimed so far is £10.80 (for the NCPIG). Any such expenses incurred by group members from the NHS, the third sector, the Scottish Government or the national officers (National Lead Clinician for Chronic Pain and National Chronic Pain Co-ordinator) would be covered by their own organisations as part of their wider operational costs.