Painaustralia is delighted that Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Ret’d) has accepted the role as national Patron of Painaustralia.
Sir Angus has a distinguished career and a particular understanding of chronic pain among veterans and those injured in conflict, the consequences for them and their families, and a commitment to raising general awareness of chronic pain in the Australian community. Sir Angus will no doubt raise the profile of chronic pain at a time of growing focus on the personal social and economic costs of pain in our communities.
The impact of pain has been heightened by the robust public debate over codeine up-scheduling changes which came into effect on 1 February 2018. Painaustralia was funded by the Federal Government to raise awareness of the changes working in collaboration with our partners in health, medical and consumer organisations. I hope our members have been able to utilise the resources developed for the campaign and hosted on the realrelief.org.au website.
We thank our members, partner organisations and new community of supporters who have entered into the dialogue and supported the realrelief campaign on our social media channels. As the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and Dean of Faculty of Pain Medicine Dr Chris Hayes said in his published opinion piece in The Age on 1 February 2018, ‘let's use this debate to start a national conversation around pain management and health policy, to ensure those living with chronic pain are not forgotten.’
For our part, Painaustralia will continue to champion the need a committed, comprehensive national approach to pain. To quote another opinion piece published in The Guardian on 1 February 2018 by Painaustralia Board Director Dr Malcolm Hogg, ‘A co-ordianted national pain plan or strategy, bringing together federal and state health systems, doctors and non medical clinicians, and engaging consumers to limit the impact of poorly controlled pain is required.’
And very importantly, we acknowledge our consumer spokespeople who have made themselves the public face of this debate to call for better pain management in Australia. In particular, Mary-Lynne Cochrane (who also led the change.org petition calling for better services), Alena Edwards and Leah Dwyer who encapsulated the post over the counter codeine challenge for people experiencing pain in her opinion piece published in the Daily Telegraph on 27 December 2017 as follows: ‘‘But people living with chronic pain, like me, do need support. If codeine is no longer available over the counter then we need accessible and alternative treatment.
We look forward to working with our members to make that challenge a reality.