The Real Health Institute has launched a pilot Pain Management Programme for the personal injury sector.

The pilot will look at ways of reducing waiting lists to see specialists in the intermediate care sector.

Its aim will be to develop a national network and standard that will give patients access to pain management and rehabilitation services.

The launch came as the government urged doctors to help reduce the number of people permanently signed off work.

Speaking at a Royal Society of Medicine conference, Work and Pensions Secretary Alan Johnson said doctors were increasingly supporting the view that signing people off as long term sick was not always the best way to deal with their health problems.