Chronic pain is major health issue with a national survey of Australian General Practice estimating the prevalence of chronic pain among patients at almost 20%, with the large majority relying on pharmacological management.[1] This includes a third of these patients being prescribed opioids, a therapy whose  efficacy and safety for chronic non‑cancer pain is not supported by the current evidence base.[2]

CSAPHN is partnering with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) Pain Management Unit to pilot a project on the Yorke Peninsula to develop and implement a GP-led, practice based multidisciplinary pain management program. Practices participating in the pilot are Moonta Medical Centre, Owen Terrace Medical Practice, Kadina Medical Associates and Broughton Clinic. The project is also engaging Allied Health Providers to provide them with clinical upskilling and to identify referral pathways. The QEH Pain Management Unit Specialists are delivering outreach clinics for patients with highly complex chronic pain management needs.

Primary Health Care (PHC) Nurses are considered an integral part of the project. The QEH Pain Management Unit provides expert chronic pain management advice and education to support the role of the PHC Nurse to ensure ongoing management of these patients through a ‘’Pain Care Plan’’.

Key elements ensuring the success of this program:

  • GPs and Allied Health Professionals (Physiotherapist, Psychologist, Pharmacists, Occupational Therapist, Podiatrists) participate in education sessions with Pain Medicine Physicians, Physiotherapists and Psychologists from QEH Pain Management Unit.
  • Referred patients are reviewed locally by the QEH PMU Team through outreach clinics with the participation of the PHC Nurses from the relevant General Practices who provide ongoing support to these patients.
  • An email address has been set up for health professionals to seek advice from the QEH PMU Team. where they receive a timely response to their questions with a plan to establish video consulting with QEH Pain Unit in the future.
  • Identification of local referral pathways and support services.

Additional information and resources can be found here

[1] Henderson, J. V. et al. (2013). Prevalence, causes, severity, impact, and management of chronic pain in Australian general practice patients. Pain Medicine, 14(9), 1346-1361.

[2] Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. (2016). Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation. Available from: