The Australian Government supported Painaustralia to develop a National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management (the Action Plan).
The Action Plan is a critical step towards improving quality of life for the millions of Australians that live with chronic pain (daily pain that lasts three months or longer) and reducing the burden of pain which is increasingly impacting families, communities and the economy. The Plan will set out key priority areas and measures to improve access to, and knowledge of best practice pain management from 2018 to 2021.
The Action Plan will build on the 2010 National Pain Strategy which was endorsed by 200 stakeholders including those working in pain medicine, allied health, drug and addiction medicine, mental health, rural health, general practice, pharmacy as well as consumers and carers. The Strategy provides a blueprint for the treatment of pain, recommending an interdisciplinary approach to deliver best practice pain management. It identifies 6 key goals to reduce the pain burden.
The National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management
The National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management will provide a key step towards a national and holistic policy framework that will support consumers, health practitioners and the wider community to improve the quality of life for people living with pain, their families and carers and minimise its impact.
In a world first, the Action Plan will provide real impetus and practical support for the 3.4 million Australians living with chronic pain said Painaustralia CEO Carol Bennett.
“The National Strategic Action Plan is a critical step towards improving the quality of life for the millions of Australians who live with chronic pain and every day face the challenges of accessing affordable and specialised pain treatment,” said Ms Bennett.
The Action Plan, which is now endorsed by all Australian governments, provides a pathway to improved pain awareness, support and treatment for people living with chronic pain.
Minister Hunt said the Action Plan was about providing people living with chronic pain a sense of hope and light and a way through.
Progress with the National Pain Strategy
The National Pain Strategy has been a catalyst for major change in the way pain—especially chronic pain—is understood and managed in Australia and the provision of pain services.
All Australian states have adopted recommendations of the strategy.
Statewide pain plans are in place in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia while Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory are well advanced in their planning with a focus on developing community-based services.
ACT Health identified chronic pain as a separate chronic condition, and funded ($1.5 million) for a Tier 1 pain clinic at Canberra Hospital.
A total of 14 new regional pain clinics have been established across the eastern states—from La Trobe to Townsville.
Dedicated paediatric pain clinics have been established at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane and Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth while regional paediatric service capacity has been increased at John Hunter Children’s Hospital in Newcastle—making a total of six specialist clinics in four states.
Specialist paediatric telehealth services are available for patients across New South Wales through Westmead Children’s Hospital and John Hunter Children’s Hospital, with paediatric clinics in other states developing telehealth options.
A range of new chronic pain education and training opportunities have been developed for health professionals.
More education for people living with pain, including award-winning online portals PainHEALTH and painbytes.
Our 2014 review of progress with the National Pain Strategy is available for download. It outlines the actions and activities of 90 government and non-government organisations.