ACT Minister for Health, Rachel Stephen-Smith talks with Painaustralia CEO, Carol Bennett
Painaustralia understands that the National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management has now been considered by the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (the health officials meeting). The next step will be the Health Ministers consideration in the New Year.
This month also saw a global summit held in Sydney that aimed to address the complex challenges and impact of de-prescribing opioid medications. The global summit brought together local and international experts in the field. Painaustralia was pleased to partner with our founding members, the Pain Management Research Institute for the Symposium.
The first of December also marked the start of the Australian Government’s Take Home Naloxone Pilot. The Pilot, which will run in NSW, SA and WA, aims to tackle rising opioid related harm. It is aimed at assisting people who are at risk of an opioid overdose or an adverse reaction. their carers, friends and family members. This important $10 million in funding, will provide an important safety net in reducing opioid related deaths and hospitalisations.
Chronic pain continues to gain public and political traction as an important area of public health. With good reason as new research from Neuroscience Research Australia and University of New South Wales confirms that people with chronic pain experience disruptions in the communication between brain cells. This can affect an individual’s capacity to effectively process emotions, potentially leading to changes in personality. The new research may provide new approaches in how we manage and respond to chronic pain.
This month, we were also pleased to be able to participate in several forums that advance the chronic pain agenda including the Medicine Safety Forum, consultations on the National Obesity Strategy as well providing input to the new Aged Care Quality indicators.
Last week, Painaustralia thanked Robert Regan for his outstanding efforts as Chairman of the board for almost 8 years and member for 10. Professor Ian Chubb has now taken the reigns as Chairman and I look forward to working with him as he leads the organisation to secure pain as a key national priority for commitment and investment of Australian health ministers.
Painaustralia was fortunate to have Robert leading the organisation from the early days of the development of Australia’s first National Pain Strategy, through to more recent achievements including a national awareness campaign to support the upscheduling of codeine in Australia (2017-8), the development and launch of the first National Strategic Action Plan on Pain Management (2019) which is shortly to be considered by Australian Health Ministers and the Cost of Pain in Australia Report (2019). Robert’s strong governance focus has enabled a strategic and considered approach to our work. I would personally like to thank Robert for his guidance and generous commitment to Painaustralia.
As 2019 comes to an end, the entire Painaustralia team and myself would like to thank you for your support this year and look forward to working with you as we progress the implementation of the National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management. We wish you and your family a safe and festive holiday period.