Last week the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport Inquiry into approval processes for new drugs and novel medical technologies in Australia released its long awaited report ‘The New Frontier - Delivering better health for all Australians’ which will have real consequences on how long it takes to access new technological treatments for people living with chronic pain and other health conditions.
As 2021 draws to a close and we begin to gaze towards a Federal election in 2022, there is an opportunity for people experiencing persisting pain, along with their families and carers, to critically survey the Australian health care landscape.
Spending on COVID-19 has produced large budget deficits and there is a need to prioritise health expenditure. However, looking to the future it remains unclear whether our Federal, State and Territory governments are primarily seeking ways to contain costs or ways to invest in the nation’s health. The early months of the upcoming year may bring greater clarity.
A little known yet major policy change has been proposed by the Department of Health in a consultation draft on the Primary Health Care 10 Year Plan. The changes proposed would take effect from July 2022 and, if implemented, would have significant impact on ongoing access to certain MBS funded services (initially telehealth).
People living in pain face a multitude of complex barriers and unique challenges. These challenges often increase as we get older. It is common for people, as they age, to feel that they are listened to less often and their opinion is held less highly by those around them.
This is especially true when it comes to pain. Many older people and their carers believe that pain is a normal part of ageing and there is little potential for improvement. No-one wants to be seen as someone who complains too much. Asking for help is not always easy, especially if you are seeking “not be a bother because pain is just a part of getting older.”
‘I was 17 when diagnosed and a good long-term plan was never discussed with me. I am 25 now and improved, but still struggling. Seems to be a lot of short-term fixes but no real ‘whole body’ approach or information about the long-term impact of treatment options.’
It is often said that chronic pain is an invisible condition afflicting millions, costing the individual and community enormous sums, impacting productivity and most importantly taking a huge toll on those forced to live with it.
Ever struggled to open a jar, plastic packaging, a can, or even the packaging around your medication? Most people have – including those who enjoy relatively good physical dexterity and strength. For people who live with chronic pain this can be a big daily hurdle.
At Painaustralia we believe it is essential for products and packaging to be designed to be readily accessible for all consumers, taking into account variability in the level of physical ability.
Ketamine is a well-known general anaesthetic and short acting analgesic, which has been in use for almost 30 years in both human and veterinary medicine. In recent times, ketamine has been trialed to treat chronic non cancer pain when other treatments, such as opioids, are proving ineffective. Conditions being trialed include cancer, Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, phantom pain, postherpetic neuralgia, sickle cell disease, and spinal injury.