Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, at Painaustralia's National Pain Services Directory Launch
With the launch of the new national Pain Services Directory at Parliament House on 23rd October, Federal Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP announced that more than 200 pain treatment services would be listed and mapped, ensuring that people living with chronic pain are able to access treatment that is appropriate and effective for their needs.
The Cost of Pain Report, prepared for Painaustralia by Deloitte Access Economics, noted that only 15% of all GP consultations end with a referral to another health practitioner, with nearly 70% instead ending in a prescription. This situation is problematic on two fronts. Not only are we pushing millions of Australians towards a pharmacological pathway of pain management, we are also not providing them with an evidence-based way of best practice pain management. While medications can play an important role in assisting those living with chronic pain conditions, it should ideally not be the first and only line of therapy.
This is why one of the most important goals of the National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management is ensuring that consumers, their carers and the wider community are more empowered, knowledgeable and supported to understand and manage pain. The launch of the new Services Directory is a big step towards accomplishing this goal, as it provides both consumers and health practitioners with up to date information about where to seek help.
Categorised by 3 levels, based on the International Association for the Study of Pain’s (IASP) recommendations for Pain Treatment Services, the Directory lists Multidisciplinary Pain Clinics, Pain Management Services as well as pain practices. With a focus on providing pain management and specialist care, these services are guided by an understanding that pain is influenced by biomedical, psychological, and social/environmental factors, and treatment that is evidence-based and safe.
Painaustralia acknowledges the contribution of the Australian Pain Society which provided invaluable information to assist in the development of this resource.