Painaustralia has been working with our colleagues in the United States, Canada and Europe to share our experiences here in Australia particularly the development of the National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management. Through our recent submission to the Canadian Pain Management Task Force, as well as our upcoming submission to the American Centres for Disease Control consultation around management of acute and chronic pain, we shared the learnings and success we have had with policy development and it provides us the opportunity to acquaint ourselves with the issues and solutions emerging from those countries.
Canadian Pain Taskforce submission
The Canadian Task Force’s mission is to identify ways to improve Canada’s response to the significant burden of Chronic pain. Australia and Canada share many similarities. Not only is the geography and population size similar but the chronic pain issues being remarkably similar. Like Australia, Canada too has universal access to government funded pharmaceuticals. This is why both locally and internationally, the rising use of opioids is a cause of concern. All opioids—including codeine—can be addictive and their use can result in dependence, accidental overdose, hospitalisation or death.
While both Australia and Canada have initiated regulatory responses to minimise opioid related harm, it is important to reinforce the critical role that access to evidence-based pain management services will and can play in addressing these issues. In Australia, the National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management provides the blueprint for a broader system response to chronic pain.
The Canadian Task Force (CTF) has outlined the following as major issues or gaps that need addressing:
pain is a stigmatised and still invalidated condition,
health care professionals still lack the knowledge and skills to treat pain,
specialised pain services are largely inaccessible,
research findings are not always being used to improve care.
These gaps are similar to the systemic barriers that need to be addressed in Australia as well. In seeking to address these concerns, we have outlined 8 recommendations in our submission to the CTF.
Painaustralia has joined the membership of the International Association for the Study of Pain as a patient advocate organisational member. The Global Alliance of Pain Patient Advocates was planning a number of lived experience activities at the 2020 World Congress which has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation. The intention is to focus on addressing the gaps in communication between various stakeholders (those living with pain, researchers, clinicians, allied health professionals, and caregivers), patient involvement in research, and strategies for self-management.
Painaustralia has also joined the World Patients Alliance (WPA) which is the umbrella organisation of patients and patients’ organisations around the globe. WPA seeks to ensure that all patients have access to safe, high quality, and affordable healthcare everywhere in the world.