For the first time, chronic pain is seriously on the national agenda as a key health priority. With Minister Hunt announcing funding for a National Action Plan for Chronic Pain Management, led by Painaustralia, we are finally in a position to develop a roadmap of priorities that should inform our national response to chronic pain in Australia.
The National Pain Strategy developed in 2010, will provide the overarching direction - the National Action Plan will be the blueprint for action. Our National Pain Strategy Roundtable held at Parliament House in Canberra in June provided a resounding reaffirmation that the National Pain Strategy is still fit for purpose. The experts at the table identified some emerging issues that now need to be taken into account in ‘refreshing’ the Strategy.
We were delighted to welcome Minister Hunt to the roundtable to provide his views on how chronic pain could be better managed in Australia. The Minister encouraged Painaustralia to take into account the need for a National Action Plan that is collaborative, focussed on consumer outcomes, develops a more capable health workforce and improved access to treatment options. Painaustralia looks forward to working with the Australian Government, our members and stakeholders on the priorities and needs of people living with chronic pain as we develop an informed and comprehensive National Action Plan. We urge you to have your say on the priorities for the new National Action Plan by taking our survey.
It is also with great delight that Painaustralia welcomes National Medical Reporter for the ABC, Sophie Scott, as our newest Pain Champion. Sophie has shared her very personal experience of living with chronic pain, challenging the stigma and shame that often comes with a diagnosis of a pain condition. We thank Sophie for her generosity in sharing her story and being a champion for pain.
This week is National Pain Week. We hope the Week will facilitate more public dialogue about the importance of addressing the needs of those living with chronic pain in Australia.
There is much to do and while we have worked hard to increase awareness of chronic pain, we must now also ensure we deliver solutions that will make a real difference in the lives of people experiencing pain, their families and communities.