Govt focus on preventing chronic pain

Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced a project examining ways to reduce the risk of people developing chronic pain

The Turnbull Government has announced the provision of $10 million for new preventive health research projects, the first investments under the Medical Research Future Fund in the Australian Partnership Centre.

The first of these projects, set to receive more than $500,000, will look at preventing chronic pain.

“Professor Fiona Blyth AM from the University of Sydney will look at how patient pain can be better managed in the primary care setting, so it does not get to a point where it becomes chronic and interferes with quality of life or requires treatment with opioids,” the Minister said. 

“Chronic pain is a growing health issue, with one in five Australians living with chronic pain. It is estimated to cost the economy $34 billion a year.

“This project is based on the assumption that the key is access to effective prevention, self-management and non-pharmacological pain management. Latest evidence estimated that 83% of people could be treated effectively if they had access to this type of service.

“If pain can be better managed and treated then we will improve the quality of life for thousands of Australians and potentially reduce dependence on medications such as codeine.”

Mr Hunt said that the information gathered under the project will be used to develop a tool for Primary Health Networks, enabling them to make local assessments of their capacity and needs.

He said the project complements other measures including the upscheduling of low-dose codeine and the pharmacy-led Pain MedsCheck trial.

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