Media Release

22 November 2018

Wooldridge: More treatment for Victorians in Pain

Thursday 22 November 2018

More treatment for Victorians in Pain

An elected Liberal Nationals Government will genuinely improve the lives of over 35,000 Victorians living with chronic pain with a $40 million investment in pain services across the State.

Over a million Victorians live with chronic pain, reducing workforce participation, community participation and overall quality of life. It impacts not only their lives, but their families and loved ones as well.

Victoria has a number of specialist pain clinics, but waiting lists are often long, sometimes even a couple of years. Regional areas are significantly affected, with high rates of opioid prescribing and excessive waiting lists for public pain clinics.

Victoria’s Pain Clinics employ doctors and nurses specialised in pain management, psychologists and a range of allied health professionals including physiotherapists and occupational therapists. These clinics use a multidisciplinary approach, utilising best practice to manage chronic pain for conditions such as arthritis, back pain, cancer and pelvic pain in women.

Further, there are more Victorians experiencing opioid addiction than ever before but since 1 February 2018, codeine has not been available without a prescription and with the roll out of Safe Script underway Victorians have been moved off opioid painkillers but left without accessible and evidence-based treatment options to manage their pain.

A Liberal Nationals Government will transform support for Victorians in pain by:

  • Expanding services at every public pain clinic to improve access and bring down waitlists and waiting times;
  • Developing a state-wide pain management plan;
  • Establishing a musculoskeletal/pain network to assist clinical innovation, policy development and improved care and access to services.
  • Undertaking targeted interventions to reduce opioid prescription in hospitals; and
  • Enhancing the management of patients with pain as a result of the implementation of Safe Script, including data collection and targeted training in the quality use of medicines.

Each pain clinic will receive a funding boost to deliver more services, with larger clinics providing linkages to help smaller services with training and specialist support.

For too long Daniel Andrews and Labor has left Victorians in chronic pain by not investing in pain clinics, particularly in regional Victoria.

The Liberal Nationals have a plan to grow all of Victoria, but to do that we need to get ahead of infrastructure and services like roads, schools and hospitals, and especially specialist care.

The Liberal Nationals will help Victorian’s get back in control of their health and their treatment.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Health, Mary Wooldridge:

“Too many Victorians are waiting too long for desperately needed treatment for their pain.

The Liberal Nationals will enable 35,000 more Victorian with chronic pain to get the treatment and support they need.”

Pain Clinics Waiting Data

  No. of patients waiting Patient with Longest Wait (days)
Albury Wodonga Health 31 137
Austin Health 75 191
Ballarat Health Services 120 235
Barwon Health 168 648
Latrobe Regional Health 376 n/a
Monash Health 521 712
Peninsula Health 148 210

Source: FOI to each Health Service July – October 2018