As Australia emerges in a better position than expected from COVID-19, it is an opportune time to reflect on the strengths and weakness of our health system and how it serves people living with pain conditions.
June saw the implementation of significant reforms around pain medications, including opioids and Modified Release Paracetamol. Importantly, the regulatory changes will not lead to a ban on prescribing opioids to any category of patient if it is considered to be clinically appropriate. Painaustralia has developed a factsheet on the reforms and is working with both the TGA and NPS Medicinewise to ensure that the regulatory changes do not lead to poor outcomes for consumers.
Work is also being done to support education and awareness on these reforms, with the TGA funding several projects for health practitioner awareness as a first step. Painaustralia has partnered with NPS Medicinewise to inform the development of GP resources and the Faculty of Pain Medicine is working on the provision of free modules for health practitioner training among other projects funded.
Painaustralia is also working with the Department of Health on the Take Home Naloxone Pilot program and have launched a targeted COVID-19 sub campaign to support people who are on high doses of opioids to freely access precautionary measures to help minimise risks.
In other system reforms, Painaustralia has been involved in the MBS Review and we are pleased to see the establishment of an implementation working group to deliver on outcomes of the review. We are optimistic that these reforms will lead to more effective and accessible pain services.
We were immensely grateful to have a meeting with His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) and Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley. Our Chair Em Professor Ian Chubb AC FAA, Mr Ben Tansley, board director and I were honoured to be able to discuss the impact of pain conditions on many Australians.
We welcome the appointment of two new and very capable Directors to the Painaustralia Board – Dr Meredith Craigie (former Dean of the Faculty of Pain Medicine) and Ms Catherine Murphy who brings significant legal, senior government and not for profit sector experience. We look forward to their contribution to our work.
On a final note, it was wonderful to see excellence in pain management recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Jennifer Abbey, the woman behind the Abbey Pain Scale and expertise in pain management in aged care settings as well as Professor Lorimer Moseley for distinguished service to medical research and science communication, education, the study of pain and its management and physiotherapy. Congratulations Jenny and Lorimer - we are all beneficiaries of the amazing work that you continue to do.
Read more about Lorimer’s organisation, PainRevolution and their new Lived Experience Community in this month’s guest article.