Pain Association Scotland CEO recognised in CEO Monthly Awards

Published by Rhys Taylor-Brown on December 4th 2023, 11:11am

Professor Sonia Cottom, CEO of Pain Association Scotland, has been acknowledged for her achievements in the CEO Monthly 2023 CEO of the Year Awards.

CEO Monthly, part of AI Global Media, announced this recognition as part of their annual awards program, which aims to celebrate individuals pushing the boundaries in their industries and leading their companies to exceptional success.

The awards, now in their third year, evaluates nominees based on various criteria, including company performance, industry expertise, previous accolades, and client testimonials. Sonia Cottom was awarded the title "Self-Management Training CEO of the Year 2023 - Scotland," reflecting her dedication to continuous growth, improvement, and innovation within the field of chronic pain management.

Pain Association Scotland has been instrumental in providing self-management models of community-based training and education programs for individuals burdened with chronic pain, their families, and caregivers. Established in 1988 initially in Edinburgh, the Association has evolved under Cottom's leadership to provide essential services across Scotland and recently expanding into England.

Commenting on her award, Cottom says, "I am delighted to be acknowledged with this award. Patients are at the very heart of our service model and what we do - to ensure they are provided with the best opportunity in empowering them to be able to manage their chronic pain. I therefore share this award with each dedicated individual within our organisation who contributes to our success, and together we will continue to provide added value and leading the Association in local and national health strategies and creating patient engagement and improving patient pathways."

Over the past decade, Cottom has navigated the organisation through significant changes, aligning it with integrated models of Health and Social Care delivery. Her strategic vision and adept management skills have been pivotal in addressing challenges posed by national clinical strategies and policies. Through collaborative efforts with NHS Boards, third-sector organisations, universities, and the Scottish Government, Cottom has positioned Pain Association Scotland as a trusted service provider, contributing valuable evidence on the benefits of self-management for chronic pain patients.

The organisation now serves approximately 4,500 people annually through intensive self-management courses and local monthly self-management groups.

Key data produced by the association highlights impressive outcomes, including a 73% reduction in GP visits for patients, a 61% decrease in flare-ups, and a remarkable 93% improvement in the quality of life for service users.

Reflecting on her role with the Association, Cottom continues, "Leading our team and the organisation has been both challenging and rewarding at the same time which I am sure this is a statement which many leaders will resonate with. Being director of the Association has meant far more than ensuring services are delivered within agreed service level agreements for the benefit of patients. It is because of the wider implications in understanding the overall aims and needs both of local government and local health and social care services that we are able to tailor our delivery to suit these needs."

In addition to her role as CEO, Cottom has actively engaged with national health strategies and collaborated with NHS Boards, universities, and the Scottish Government. Her involvement in government consultations, parliamentary debates, and national advisory groups reflects her commitment to shaping policies that recognise chronic pain as a national priority.

Cottom has been recognised as a Visiting Professor at York St John University, contributing to the education and understanding of pain management. She has also played a crucial role in the establishment of a patient referral pathway from both Primary and Secondary Care, utilising innovative electronic referral systems to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery.

In addition to receiving the CEO of the Year award, Cottom recently garnered a nomination for the Business Women Scotland Awards, securing a place in the final 100 shortlist. 

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Rhys Taylor-Brown
Junior Editor
December 4th 2023, 11:11am

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