"Pain is Australia's third most costly health problem and arguably
the developed world's largest 'undiscovered' health priority."
- Professor Michael Cousins AM, Chair National Pain Strategy
Australia was the first country in the world to develop a national framework for the treatment and management of pain: the National Pain Strategy.
The key goals of the National Pain Strategy are:
- People in pain as a national health priority
- Knowledgeable, empowered & supported consumers
- Skilled professionals & best-practice evidence-based care
- Access to interdisciplinary care at all levels
- Quality improvement & evaluation
While good progress has been made to implement the strategy in some jurisdictions, nationally it has been piecemeal and underfunded.
We are asking the Federal Government to take leadership on the National Pain Strategy, to develop a coordinated approach to chronic pain service delivery, Australia-wide.
How the National Pain Strategy was developed
The National Pain Strategy was the key outcome of the National Pain Summit held at Parliament House, Canberra, in March 2010.
The Pain Summit attracted 200 delegates representing more than 150 healthcare professional, consumer organisations, funders and not-for-profit bodies concerned with pain and treatment of pain.
The first draft of the NPS was developed by a series of Working Groups led by the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists / Faculty of Pain Medicine (ANZCA/FPM), the Australian Pain Society (APS) and the consumer group Chronic Pain Australia (CPA), in collaboration with the MBF Foundation (now Bupa Foundation) and the University of Sydney Pain Management Research Institute.
The initial draft was further developed by a series of Reference Groups representing all primary healthcare disciplines, pain specialists, other relevant medical specialists and consumers. The subsequent draft, aligned with the recommendations of the Prescription Opioid Policy published by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in April 2009, was released for public and stakeholder consultation in October 2009 and revised prior to the National Pain Summit.
The National Pain Strategy attracted global interest, particularly in the USA, Canada and Europe.
Progress with the National Pain Strategy
In 2015, Painaustralia undertook a review of progress with the National Pain Strategy.
The actions and activities of 90 government and non-government organisations are outlined in our review, available here for comment.
- New South Wales and Queensland have implemented state-wide pain management plans ($26 million allocated in NSW and $39 million in QLD).
- A total of 14 new regional pain centres have been established in NSW, QLD and VIC.
- ACT Health identified chronic pain as a separate chronic condition, and funded ($1.5 million) for a Tier 1 pain clinic at Canberra Hospital.
- WA Health funded ($600,000) a dedicated pain service for children and adolescents at Perth's Princess Margaret Hospital.Notre Dame University, Fremantle, established the Chair of Pain Medicine.St Vincent's Private Hospital opened a new $3 million Queensland Centre For Pain Management, for adults and adolescents.
- A range of new chronic pain education and training opportunities have been developed for health professionals.
- More education for people living with pain, including award-winning online portals PainHEALTH and painbytes.