About the Faculty

Who are we?

The Faculty of Pain Medicine is the professional body responsible for the training, assessment, practice and continuing professional development of specialist medical practitioners in the management of pain in the UK.

Dean's Statement

Dr John Hughes

The Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Royal College of Anaesthetists was established on 2 April 2007.  It has significant responsibility and authority with regard to patients and those working and training in the field of Pain Medicine.

The Faculty functions through its secretariat and the work of its Board and two main committees; the Professional Standards Committee (FPMPSC) and the Training & Assessment Committee (FPMTAC). In addition, short term working groups are appointed to look at specific issues. Through our guidance and Pain Medicine training we promote the highest standards of practice for patients. We also serve our Fellows, Members and aspiring Fellows. Fellows and Members are from a range of backgrounds, from established consultants to newer consultants, as well as non-consultant doctors working in pain medicine and trainees and educators.  Each individual has their own needs, aspirations, and demands; it is our duty to address these.

Specialised Pain Medicine training at Higher and Advanced levels is closely supervised by FPMTAC and appointed Regional Advisors in Pain Medicine and Local Pain Medicine Educational Supervisors, who are in turn supported by FPMTAC and the Board.  The Fellowship examination of the Faculty has been set up to make explicit the high standards achieved by the trainees and to offer a respected and established currency in Pain Medicine.

We also aspire to satisfy established consultant and non-consultant doctors’ educational needs through our very active meeting programme and in this way to facilitate their Continuing Professional Development. Support for revalidation is offered by the RCoA Revalidation Committee which has specialist Pain Medicine input for advice particular to Pain Medicine.

The effective and timely management of pain is a core skill for all doctors in any branch of medicine and we are working with medical schools to embed focussed reaching which will aid in treatment; improving the patients' experience of diverse conditions, and raising awareness of the sometimes complex nature of good pain management.

The Board has developed efficient working partnerships and alliances on behalf of our Fellows and Members, to include very close relationships with the RCoA and the British Pain Society (BPS) and joint working with the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition (CPPC), providing good patient links. We continue to work with the Clinical Reference Group for Specialised Pain Services who are developing specifications and policies for the NHS Commissioning Board.

The Faculty takes part in regular consultations with all major stakeholders in Pain Medicine, including the Department of Health, the General Medical Council and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.  We view this as a key opportunity to influence strategy and enhance and protect Pain Medicine as a specialist area in the UK.

For our 10th anniversary, we compiled a list of all our key activities undertaken between 2007-2017.  You can view these below.

A guide to Faculty activities 2007-2017

We date our anniversary from the first meeting of the ‘Initial Board’ of the Faculty, held in May 2007, which saw the election of the first Dean, Doug Justins, and its first Vice  Dean, Karen Simpson.  Before this, the embryonic ‘Founding Board’ was commissioned by the Royal College of Anaesthetists to oversee the transition of the College’s  Pain Management Committee and its responsibilities into the Faculty we all know today.

The first 18 months saw the Faculty open Foundation Fellowship and develop its early work streams.  Our story next picks up in 2009.  This year by year digest is not intended to be exhaustive as there’s far too much to cover.  It also can never truly detail the on-going work responding back to consultations, sending representatives to key initiatives, engaging with our partner organisations and national bodies, managing the media, and helping our fellows, members and trainees with their requests and concerns, or the work of our dedicated team of staff at Churchill House who make sure it all happens, on time.  As is often the case, it is the little interventions and smaller queries that can weigh up over time to be as important as the big changes.

As the work of the Faculty grows, two standing committees of the Faculty, The Training & Assessment Committee (FPMTAC) and the Professional Standards Committee (FPMPSC), meet for the first time.  An embryonic version of the FPM webpage is launched.  Dave Rowbotham becomes the second Vice Dean.  Our membership routes expand.

The Faculty’s newsletter, Transmitter, launches.  Our first Education Meetings Advisor is appointed and oversees an overhaul of the Pain Medicine events programme.  Much work is taken forward by FPMTAC, including creating the first trainee logbook.  Guidance on specialist area competencies are produced.  After three years and helping to birth the Faculty, Doug Justins stands down as Dean.  Dave Rowbotham stands unopposed to succeed him.

In other news, a volcanic eruption in Iceland grounds air traffic across Europe and an amateur metal detectorist finds the UK largest haul of Anglo-Saxon jewellery in a field in Staffordshire.

During Dave’s first year, the FFPMRCA Court of Examiners is formed and begins the difficult tasks of populating a question bank and ensuring a fair and responsive standard setting process for the exam.  The first guideline is produced by the FPMPSC with many more to follow in coming years. Kate Grady becomes the third Vice Dean.

Following the 2011 Pain Summit, for which FPM is a co-sponsor, we lead the development of ASK2QUESTIONS, a proposed primary care screening tool for pain.  The Good Pain Medicine Specialist, guidance for revalidation, and What is a Pain Medicine Specialist?, a document on pain medicine specialists for the general public, are published.  In this year we got approval from RCoA Council to pursue subspecialty status with the GMC, but Shape of Training put those plans on hold.

In other news, a tsunami causes a meltdown at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant and Team GB secures 65 medals at the Summer Olympic Games.

Dave ends his tenure as Deanship, bring Kate Grady into that august position.  Mark Taylor becomes Vice Dean.  The Faculty, with the BPS, achieves funding for e-PAIN, an e-learning resource for pain management, and begins the process of bring editors, authors and content online.  The website is fully redeveloped, adding much additional content.  2013 also sees the launch of the first ever workforce census for Pain Medicine.  A working party of the Training & Assessment Committee reviews and improves the assessment system for training, including retraining guidance and a new case report marking structure.

The first e-PAIN sessions go live.  Careers content arrives on the website along with the first phase of patient leaflets and a detailed evidence base for Pain Medicine.  The FPM develops the educational structure for Pain in Secure Environments and launches the trainee survey to aid a quality system for pain training.  A guide to Pain Medicine training is produced.  The FPM is also instrumental in setting up the cross-agency Pain Consortium. 

In other news, tributes poured in from across the globe remembering the life of Nelson Mandela and Ebola rears its ugly head again.

The Hospital Review Form (for remote quality management of training) is rolled out.  The FPM becomes the home for the Essential Pain Management (EPM) initiative with courses held across Africa.  This also leads to start of the EPM Lite project, which aims to introduce pain management education into medical schools.  Core Standards for Pain Management Services, the first multiprofessional standards of its kind are launched at a parliamentary reception alongside Opioids Aware, an essential prescribing resource.  The Right Patient Right Professionals Right Time initiative begins a fresh involvement with key national figures.  The Trainee Newsletter is launched.

Barry Miller becomes Dean.  The first Acute Pain Census is completed and analysis begins.  The first forum for Paediatric Pain Specialists is held and the Faculty website undergoes a restructuring.  An Innovations and Reflections section of the website is added to help aid quality enhancement.  Further patient leaflets (this time on interventions) are written ready for e-publishing in early 2017.  The FPM joints the Twittersphere.

In other news, Storm Barney brought winds of up to 85mph to parts of the UK and many greats of music from Prince to David Bowie shuffle off this mortal coil to join that great gig in the sky.

The Faculty continues to undertake new work streams to promote Pain Medicine and improve services for people with pain.  Please visit the rest of the website for more information on recent activities.

Dr John Hughes
FPM Dean

John Hughes trained in London and the South East, Baltimore and Newcastle before becoming a consultant at The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough.

Over the years he developed a special interest in chronic abdominal and pelvic pain and became a full time pain consultant in 2014.

His non clinical interests include introducing pain to the undergraduate curriculum for phase 1 medical students at Durham University and he was one of the original RAPM’s going on to be chair and then co-opted to the Training and Assessment Committee. He was a member from 2013 to 2015 and later became Chair of the Clinical Reference Group Specialised Pain Services NHSE from 2015 2019.

Has been Chair of Pain of Urogenital Origin (PUGO), a SIG of the IASP renamed SIG of Abdominal and Pelvic Pain and a Member of the IASP Education Working Group. He is currently a member of the European Association of Urology Chronic Pelvic Pain Working group and chair of the BPS/MoM Chronic Pelvic Pain Patient Pathway working group.

He was elected to the board of FPM 2013, Vice Dean between 2017- 2019 and Dean from 2019-2020.

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