Painaustralia has provided a supplementary submission to inform the Treasury ahead of the release of Budget 2020-2021. Our submission notes that while the pandemic has drawn attention away from other health issues including chronic pain, we ignore these issues at our peril. Neither the individuals affected, nor our health system and economy,can continue to bear the burden of poorly managed chronic pain. Urgent action is needed, and the National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management (the National Action Plan) sets out the blueprint.
a media campaign targeted to people with pain, explaining the opioid prescribing changes, and raising awareness of other treatment options;
telephone-based care navigation for people with chronic pain, staffed by trained and accredited counsellors;
a community-based support worker program to help people self-manage their chronic pain;
a new model of care for people with pain living in residential aged care homes;
and Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) funding to support multidisciplinary chronic pain management.
The aim of each of these initiatives is to provide pain management support to the settings where people most need access now, and into the future: in the community, and in residential aged care. These are efficient solutions which will make community-based, consumer-centred information, support and care more readily available to the large numbers of Australians living with pain. The initiatives will enable people to understand and manage their pain better, and support access to best practice pain management strategies which can help reduce reliance on medications as the sole source of treatment.
These are all timely initiatives that address urgent gaps. Real and immediate action will not only improve the lives of people with chronic pain but will benefit all Australians through economic returns and reduced pressure on our health care system.
Painaustralia is urging the Federal Government to consider these proposals carefully to address the growing burden of pain conditions on our community and economy, and to mitigate the current crisis faced by many people living with chronic pain.