Core Standards


Core Standards for Pain Management Services was first published by the Faculty of Pain Medicine in November 2015.  The Faculty worked with all major stakeholders across the Pain Management spectrum and a full list of endorsing organisations is contained within the document.


CSPMS: The Definitive Reference
CSPMS is a collaborative multidisciplinary publication providing a robust reference source for the planning and delivery of Pain Management Services in the United Kingdom.  It is designed to provide a framework for standard setting in the provision of Pain Management Services for Healthcare professionals, commissioners and other stakeholders to optimise the care of our patients.  


CSPMS is broken down into chapters and sections which are clear and concise.  After Chapter Two, each has the standard format of Introductions, Recommendations, Standards, Background and References.

Advice statements are made in CSPMS in two ways.

1)      Standards must be routine practice in UK Pain Management.

2)      Recommendations should be routine practice in UK Pain Management.


Commissioning and quality
Many specialist pain clinicians and NHS managers are involved presently in discussion with local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) with respect to establishment of specialist pain services in their area. CSPMS provides recommendations that are aimed at assisting this process, especially the provision of effective and safe pain services that provide a high quality patient experience and outcome.  Pain Management Services have historically been located in secondary care, but many are now located in the community and have good links with Primary Care or other community services such as musculoskeletal services.  Pain Management Services should positively relate to Primary Care to ensure that clarity exists to ensure that assessment is undertaken so that patients in pain are triaged to allow referral to services that are appropriate to their needs.

Following engagement with the Care Quality Commission, key standards from CSPMS are being incorporated across all core services visiting standards used by the CQC when undertaking visits.  You can find the key standards by clicking here.


Gap Analysis Questionnaire tool
Following feedback, the FPM Professional Standards Committee recognised a need for a Gap Analysis Instrument.  This is aimed at allowing clinicians/pain units to assess on how closely their institution adheres to the Core Standards published in CSPMS.

The Gap Analysis Questionnaire comprises the standards mostly answered in a categorical manner (‘Yes/No’) and few general questions about your units’ characteristics.

It should help you as a quality assessment tool, aid your unit’s preparation for CQC visits and inform the editors of CSPMS on how to reshape the next version of Core Standards.

The CQC’s interest in using CSPMS standards is certain to continue. With this supportive publication, we hope to make the process of CQC assessment - or indeed any quality of care assessment more transparent and unambiguous.  You can access the Gap Analysis Questionnaire by clicking here.

Please feel free to comment on the format and points you may wish adapted in the future, by email to



  • CSPMS is not a static document and will be regularly updated to reflect changes in practice and evidence.  We welcome any advice from the pain community on necessary updates or changes to CSPMS.  Please email us at



  • In January 2016, CSPMS was raised in a question to Parliament.  You can read the question and repsonse by clicking here.