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Consumers will play an important role in shaping South Australia's statewide pain plan, with consumer advocates at the ready to input into important decisions that will directly affect the community.
Consistent with the shift towards consumer-centred healthcare, consumer representatives have taken an active role in discussions in the first meeting of the Statewide Chronic Pain Implementation Committee,
held last month.
"Consumer engagement and education will be one of the important elements of South Australia's new model of care for chronic pain services," said Dr Tim Semple, Pain Specialist and Chair of the committee.
"We want to achieve a whole-of-health approach that involves GPs, primary health organisations and consumers, not just the tertiary sector.
"Research has shown that medical care for chronic illness such as chronic pain, is rarely effective in the absence of adequate self-care.
"Ultimately it's about empowering people to selfmanage their pain and giving them the right supports at the primary care level with access to a tertiary service when needed."
Mary Wing, who leads the Adelaide Pain Support Group and has a Post Graduate Diploma in Chronic Condition Management along with education and experience in Stanford Chronic Disease Self Management programs, brings her wealth of experience to the table.
"Education is an important element of any healthcare strategy. If consumers can be educated in self-care, they are more likely to have less fear and feel more confident, leading to better outcomes," she said.
"Peer support is also a vital element that is often underestimated. Engaging with others who are on the same journey helps relieve feelings of isolation, provides emotional support and can help people achieve their
pain management goals."
Dr Tim Semple and his team will be working on delivering the statewide plan by the end of 2018.