The survey, which spanned an eight-week period from December 2020 until February 2022 attracted over 1,800 respondents.
The main themes that emerged within our report were:
the lack of access to alternative services available for people with chronic pain, in the absence of medication;
difficulties in accessing medication; feelings of judgement and stigma;
decreased quality of life; poorer mental health;
increased visits to GPs and other health professionals resulting in increased and unwanted costs to consumers; and;
the need for education and awareness campaigns for consumers and health professionals
Our report findings emphasise the underlying urgent need for alternative support and treatments for consumers and details the significant mental health impacts on chronic pain facing consumers – many of whom are increasingly distraught and uneasy when seeking medication or other options for treatment of their conditions.
As a result of this, we recommend:
increased support for people living with chronic pain, including the creation of a dedicated helpline to address mental health and provide referrals to alternative pathways and support groups;
additional funding for new items under the Medicare Benefits Scheme to give greater access to allied health services and group pain management programs;
continuous and additional education and awareness campaigns to help reduce stigma and provide clear pathways to alternate treatments for consumers and health professionals.
We would like to extend our gratitude to the consumers who took the time to put in a response to our survey. You can read our report here.