Broad endorsement for our National Pain Strategy: National Roundtable
An eminent group of experts from pain medicine, allied health, drug and addiction medicine, mental health, rural health, general practice, pharmacy, rheumatology, and importantly consumers, has broadly endorsed the National Pain Strategy as ‘fit for purpose’ to reduce Australia’s pain burden at a roundtable led by Painaustralia and supported by Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP.
Co-facilitated by ABC Health Reporter Sophie Scott and Rosie Yeo, the roundtable unanimously agreed that the National Pain Strategy – developed in 2010 as a result of Australia’s world-first National Pain Summit – sets out a clear framework for supporting best practice pain management and should guide development of the new National Action Plan.
Current and emerging issues were also identified, including the quality use of pain medications; the overlap between drug addiction disorders and pain management; and the expanding role of technology to enable greater access to pain management support and services.
“This broad endorsement of the goals and key elements of the National Pain Strategy, by representatives from key health groups and consumers, has provided us with a clear way forward to refresh the Strategy so that it remains Australia’s essential guide to pain health reform,” said Painaustralia CEO Carol Bennett.
New figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) have revealed 6.9 million Australians are living with a musculoskeletal condition alone and opioid prescribing has increased by 24% between 2010-11 and 2014-15, from 369 to 456 prescriptions per 1,000 population.
According to the AIHW, on an average day in our health system 406,000 visits are made to a GP. Given the latest GP data tell us that one in five consultations involve a patient with chronic pain, this suggests 81,200 Australians are visiting their GP every day for a pain-related issue.
The National Pain Strategy recommends an interdisciplinary approach to chronic pain management where possible, along with measures to increase knowledge of pain and pain management among consumers and in the medical community and ensuring pain is a national health priority.
The roundtable was a first step in the development of a National Action Plan for chronic pain management.
A communique from the event will soon be available.