It is well known that people in rural, regional and remote Australia experience worse health outcomes than their city counterparts. They have less access to services and are exposed to increased health risks. This situation could not be truer when it comes to chronic pain, with both prevention and management resources severely lacking.
Despite the likelihood of people in these areas needing best-practice pain management, arguably more so than their urban counterparts, access to these services is woefully absent with a lack of specialists and allied health professionals. GPs professional training in pain management is also often inadequate.
The Primary Health Reform Steering Group (who advises the Australian Government) has developed a new model of care designed to address the challenges of delivering primary healthcare in rural settings called Rural Area Community Controlled Health Organisations (RACCHOs).
RACCHOs are organisations that will employ a range of health care professionals including general practitioners, nurses and midwives, and allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, podiatrists, and psychologists. RACCHOs would also have close links with community pharmacies, infant health centres, dentists, paramedics, multipurpose services and local hospitals, and scope for visiting specialists.