Painaustralia to develop a National Strategic Action Plan for Chronic Pain Management
This September marks the 16th year that organisations and countries around the globe will be marking the International Pain Awareness Month. This year again, Painaustralia joins all our international colleagues in taking the time to spread awareness about this all too common yet neglected public health issue.
During the International Pain Awareness month last year, our focus in Australia was to remind politicians of the need for leadership in the implementation of the National Pain Strategy. Australia was the first country in the world to develop a national framework for pain in 2010.
Since then, the need to act on our National Pain Strategy has only become stronger with statistics showing that 1 in 5 Australians live with chronic pain (including adolescents and children) and 1 in 3 over the age of 65. In 2007, it was found that chronic pain cost the Australian economy over $34 billion per year on health costs, social security benefits and lost productivity as pain impacts the wellbeing and mental health of millions of Australians, disrupting families and weakening communities.
However, we are pleased to report that the Government has responded and is acting to address the issue of pain, with 2018 seeing Painaustralia being funded to develop a National Strategic Action Plan for Chronic Pain Management. Funded by the Australian Government, the plan is a step towards improving access to affordable best practice pain care for all patients in all of Australia and will offer a roadmap for the implementation of the National Pain Strategy.
The development of a national action plan is an important step towards raising awareness, and increasing access to prevention and early intervention, treatment and support, and research and evaluation. This will become a key component to ensuring quality of life and limiting the escalating social and economic costs of unmanaged pain.
The plan will address better access to affordable treatment for chronic pain, and increasing understanding of care options available, minimise misuse and reliance on pain medication; improve quality of life for individuals and enhance their mental health; help more Australians return to work after injury; and reduce the economic burden of pain in this country, particularly in regional areas that face specific barriers to service access.
We are hopeful that the development of the National Action Plan will be followed by the implementation of the world’s first, fully funded government response to comprehensively addressing the burden of pain.
We at Painaustralia look forward to working with our international colleagues to make a difference to the way that pain is understood and managed around the world.