Quality of care report 2012/13

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Chronic Pain Clinic / Chronic illness care

One in five Australians will experience chronic pain in their lifetime.

Up to 80% of people living with chronic pain are missing out on treatment that could improve their quality of life.

It is estimated that chronic pain costs the Australian economy $34 billion per annum; it is the nation’s third most costly health problem. However, it is not officially recognised as a public health issue.

Yet a person with chronic pain — that is, constant daily pain for a period of three months or more in the past six months —faces the following:

  • their condition is not officially recognised as a disease or a public health issue
  • their family, friends, employers, schools and health professionals will often not believe they are in pain
  • many health professionals will have received little or no training in how to treat their condition
  • they may have to wait more than a year for an appointment at a service that can help them
  • they have little access to community-based support
  • their productivity at work may be lowered, which frequently leads to unemployment and impoverishment
  • they are personally likely to carry more than half the total economic cost

GV Health established a Chronic Pain Clinic in December 2012, to provide local access to a team of medical and allied health specialists for pain treatment and assistance with self management of pain conditions. The team includes not just traditional medical staff but also occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists and exercise physiologists. Individualised treatment is offered, as well as a variety of group programs to suit every client’s individual rehabilitation goals.

Prior to the establishment of this clinic, local people seeking pain treatment would have had to travel to Bendigo, Albury or Melbourne.

More than 200 patients have been referred to the clinic since it was established. As this has proven to be a service in much demand, please be aware that there is a waiting list to be seen.

If you are experiencing chronic pain and would like to find out more about the Chronic Pain Clinic, contact your local doctor to obtain a referral.