One in five Australians live with chronic pain, with the prevalence increasing to one in three for people aged over 65 years. The incidence of chronic pain is greater in rural areas due to the physically demanding nature of work and the lack of effective, timely care for acute pain. Living with the debilitating effects of chronic pain can have a significant impact of people’s lives and is frequently associated with forced retirement, relationship breakdown, depression and suicide. Lesley Brydon, CEO of Painaustralia, noted at the recent 13th National Rural Health Conference, that pain is the most common reason people seek medical help.
The National Pain Strategy (2010) is a nation-wide framework for the delivery of pain management services. In regional areas, it has helped facilitate the establishment of 14 new multidisciplinary pain centres across NSW, VIC and QLD. As part of the framework, community-based services provide pain management services and outreach services via Telehealth and the Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program are also helping to bring pain management services to people in rural and remote areas.
The Alliance is aware that a lack of pain management services is a rural and remote health issue and has produced a Factsheet on the topic. We are also supporting Pain Australia provide online education and training resources to rural and remote health professionals and patients. We encourage you to visit the list of education and training resources on our website.