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The High Cost of Pain

Who We Are

 "Every nation should have policies on the management of pain that

describe the burden of pain, its impact, and what should be done

in terms of policy interventions to reduce these problems."

- International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP)


Painaustralia is a national not-for-profit body established to improve the treatment and management of pain in Australia.

We were formed in February 2011 to facilitate implementation of the National Pain Strategy 2011 (NPS), which was developed by more than 200 delegates at the Pain Summit held at Parliament House, Canberra, in March 2010.

The goals of the National Pain Strategy are:

    • People in pain as a national health priority;
    • Knowledgeable, empowered and supported consumers;
    • Skilled professionals and best-practice evidence-based care;
    • Access to interdisciplinary care at all levels;
    • Quality improvement and evaluation; and
    • Research.

Our role is to work with governments, healthcare professionals and consumers to ensure Australians have better access to pain management services, through delivery of best practice models of care across the healthcare system.

Our members include healthcare professionals, consumer organisations and not-for-profit bodies representing the broad range of health issues concerned with the treatment and management of pain.

We operate with a CEO and a small management team, under the leadership of a Chairman and Board of Directors.

Why We Need Painaustralia


One in five Australians, including adolescents and children, live with chronic pain. This prevalence rises to one in three of the older (over 65) age group. (Blyth et al. 2001)


Yet chronic pain remains one of the least understood and poorly resourced areas of healthcare.

More than 80 percent of people with chronic pain are missing out on treatment that could improve their health and quality of life.

Through Painaustralia, organisations concerned with pain can work together to achieve access to best practice pain management services for all Australians.

The support of more than 150 organisations for the NPS ensures that Painaustralia is in a position to advocate strongly on behalf of its members to achieve this goal.

Key Issues

      • Unmet demand for pain services, which will worsen as the population ages. Currently less than one in ten of the 3.2 million people who suffer chronic pain get access to effective treatment.


  • Long wait times of more than a year to access multidisciplinary services in public hospitals, which results in deterioration of quality of life and psychological wellbeing.
  • Insufficient pain specialists to cater for the 3.2 million people who suffer chronic pain. Currently there are only 24 registered pain specialist training positions and only 20 accredited training units across Australia.


    • Wide variation in services, with people living in regional or remote areas, as well as those in particular Australia cities, unable to access specialist help for pain.
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