Musculoskeletal

8 goals for pain management in new National Strategic Action Plan


A national action plan for better pain management has been launched by Pain Australia.

Supported by funding from the Federal government, the plan has been drawn up in consultation with groups such as the Australian Rheumatology Association, Arthritis Australia and the RACP

The developers of the plan say that pain has not been a priority area despite one in five Australians experiencing chronic pain and the consequent disabilities.

“Many people living with pain cannot get access to best practice pain management, often due to cost, location or low awareness of treatment options,” they write.

The plan notes that 4 million Australians currently live with arthritis, and by 2032 it is projected that the number of cases of arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions will increase by 43% to 8.7 million and affect over 30% of the population.

“Back pain and arthritis are two of the most common health conditions that cause premature retirement for people between the ages of 45 and 64, accounting for about 40% of cases,” it says.

The action plan focuses on eight key goals and actions, including:

  1. Establish a National Pain Leadership Group
  2. Recognise pain as a complex condition in its own right for the purposes of MBS rebates
  3. Determine a single validated assessment and monitoring tool for chronic pain
  4. Include pain management in accreditation standards for health providers
  5. Establish a National Institute of Pain Research
  6. Provide an overarching education strategy for health practitioners
  7. Community awareness campaigns on pain management and prevention of chronic pain
  8. Interactive national website and app to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for information and resources

Pain Australia CEO Carol Bennett said the action plan will now progress to the Australian Health Ministers Council, ahead of being presented to the Council of Australian Government’s for endorsement in the coming weeks.

“This Action Plan provides us with a clear pathway to meet the challenges that chronic pain poses to all Australians,” she said.

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