Welcome to the April edition of the 2022 Painaustralia eNews.
With the announcement of the election on 21 May 2022, Painaustralia will be calling on our politicians to make chronic pain a priority that is deserving of increased funding, particularly in light of our latest survey results of opioid regulations on consumers which we are releasing today.
I am grateful to everyone who contributed to our survey and extend my thanks to those who provided comments and feedback. The survey attracted more than 1,800 respondents and reached more than 25,000 consumers through social media engagement.
The feedback highlighted the stigma many consumers experience, and the frustrations felt about the lack of access to alternative services. Themes included lack of access, a negative impact on quality of life and the need for greater information and awareness of the issue of chronic pain. More details about the survey findings are in this newsletter.
Last year, Painaustralia wrote to the Australian Government, urging more funding for Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items for chronic pain. This year’s 2022-23 Federal Budget did see a commitment of $16.4 million to establish 16 endometriosis and pelvic pain GP clinics in primary care settings. There was also the addition of new MBS items for the reviewing and reprogramming of neurostimulators for chronic pain by videoconference.
The budget also included the expansion of the national Take Home Naloxone (THN) program with a $19.6 million in funding to provide the opioid overdose-reversing medication available at no cost and without a prescription.
This commitment is particularly welcomed as Painaustralia worked alongside the Australian Government on the pilot. You can read more about the THN pilot here. However, the budget did not include funding for further MBS specific pain items that would provide consumers with better access to multidisciplinary pain management programs and allied health visits. We will continue to encourage and work with the Australian Government to make chronic pain a priority.
I’d like to take a moment to thank our Consumer Advisory Group member Leah Dwyer for volunteering her time and experience as she features in this month’s consumer story sharing her experience to taper off opioids.
In this month’s edition of eNews we also have an updated new fact sheet available from Painaustralia for consumers to use. We encourage you to share it among your circles, to help raise awareness about the impacts of chronic pain which you can find here.
Finally, our guest post is a feature from Parkinson’s Australia and will focus on identifying some of the lesser-known early warning signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s.