A Pain Management Clinical Committee has been established to provide broad consideration of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) in relation to pain care and treatments, as part of the ongoing review.
The committee will be chaired by Dr Chris Hayes, who is Director of Hunter Pain Service and a member of the New South Wales Agency for Clinical Innovation’s Pain Network Executive.
This will be an important step towards ensuring the review gives adequate consideration to Australia’s chronic pain epidemic.
Painaustralia has previously written to the MBS Review Taskforce to highlight the need for the MBS to support services that align with contemporary clinical evidence and practice to improve health outcomes for people with ongoing chronic pain.
In its current form, the MBS does not support the realisation of a multidisciplinary, patient-centred approach in primary, secondary or tertiary healthcare settings. This approach continues to be endorsed by the pain sector and is articulated in the National Pain Strategy, which provides a blueprint for the treatment and management of acute, chronic and cancer pain.
Without wholesale changes to the MBS framework, considerable efforts of health practitioners and governments to adopt the approach outlined in the Strategy are being stymied.
Painaustralia CEO Carol Bennett says the review is an opportunity for a better deal for people with pain.
“We believe the review outcomes will be of deep significance for the one in five Australians who live with chronic pain, many of whom are not receiving or are not aware of best-practice pain management.
“In many cases, cost is a barrier to effective care and treatment, and we urge the Taskforce to consider service and funding models that would underpin and streamline a multidisciplinary approach in a range of healthcare settings.”