It also played an important role in supporting collaboration and information sharing between PHNs to support implementation. Download the Findings Brief for a summary of the key findings and relevance for policy and practice.
- Chronic pain is a major and growing public health issue.
- Specialist pain clinics have long waiting lists and are unable to meet increasing demand. Primary health care is the most important point for intervention to improve access to care.
- Our project focused on Primary Health Networks (PHNs) as the commissioning bodies and supporters of primary care services.
- We synthesised the evidence about chronic pain initiatives in primary care, and consulted with PHNs to understand their needs, priorities and gaps, and to map their chronic pain initiatives.
- We also surveyed experts to identify the enablers of community-based pain programs and surveyed PHNs to identify existing programs.
- Few PHNs are identifying the need for, and adequately addressing, the secondary prevention and management of chronic pain in primary care.
- We identified a small number of evidence-based chronic pain initiatives that PHNs are currently implementing (such as Project ECHO) that are suitable for scale-up across Australia.
- Dedicated funding and collaboration between PHNs and local health networks, agencies and non-government organisations are needed to ensure scale-up and sustainability of these initiatives.