Putting chronic pain on the map: PHNs meet to discuss prevention and management

Representatives from Australia’s Primary Health Networks (PHNs) will come together in Sydney next month to discuss opportunities for improving the prevention and management of chronic pain in primary care.

The March 19 workshop will unveil the findings of a literature review and consultation conducted as part of a Prevention Centre project on preventing and better managing  chronic pain in primary care. Research Fellow Dr Simone De Morgan said there was great interest from most PHNs in Australia to be involved in the project.

Research Fellow Dr Simone De Morgan

She said the workshop would provide a map of what initiatives PHNs are implementing about chronic pain, help PHNs to think about what initiatives they could implement considering their local context, and focus PHNs on good implementation and evaluation strategies.

There will also be opportunities for attendees to hear from the National Prescribing Service, HealthPathways researchers and implementation experts.

“We are providing PHNs with the opportunity to hear from others about chronic pain initiatives, and to discuss implementation and resource and capacity requirements with other PHNs,” Dr De Morgan said.

“There are many opportunities to improve the prevention and management of chronic pain in primary care, and we want to make sure PHNs are aware of these.”

The project has completed a comprehensive literature review, which identified a range of effective initiatives that work in practice and could be implemented by PHNs around Australia to improve the prevention and management of chronic pain.

It has also reviewed recent PHN Needs Assessments to understand their health and service needs related to chronic pain. It found two thirds of PHNs identified chronic pain as an important issue, but only one quarter described key issues or proposed strategies to address it. None of these strategies related to the prevention of chronic pain.

The next step will be to work with implementation science experts and interested PHNs to help them better implement and evaluate their initiatives to address chronic pain.

“Not only are we aiming to put pain on the PHN agenda, we hope to support PHNs in their thinking about how to implement pain initiatives considering their local context,” Dr De Morgan said.

The Prevention Centre pain project is funded by the Medical Research Future Fund.

-Helen Signy, Communications Manager