Ease the Pain

In September last year I wrote a post about Migraine Awareness Week. My daughter Bec experiences migraine attacks on a regular basis. Fortunately, with a combination of lifestyle changes and over the counter pain medication she has been able to more or less manage the attacks. However, for many other people with migraine it can be a debilitating condition that causes chronic pain.

There are about 3.4 million Australians whose everyday lives are seriously impacted by chronic pain. Some are completely unable to work because the pain is so debilitating and up to 80% of patients cannot even access appropriate or effective treatment. It is estimated that chronic pain costs our economy billions of dollars every year. 

Treatment services for chronic pain in Australia is often a bit of hit and miss, so when the Australian Government established a taskforce in 2015 to review the medical services that are funded by Medicare, the pain management experts submitted a report recommending a number of additional services that needed to be funded in order to provide better chronic pain treatment.

What is Medicare?

For readers outside of Australia, Medicare is a Government scheme that provides access to healthcare for all Australian residents. It doesn’t cover every medical service, but those that are funded, such as visits to the GP and some pharmaceutical prescriptions, are either free or subsidised, depending on personal circumstances.

Some of the measures put forward by the pain management experts included options for community treatment, a team approach to pain management, and the recognition that chronic pain is an illness in itself, not just an isolated symptom. Oh, and more funding for research.  

The Australian Government, showing great compassion for Australians with chronic pain, decided instead to cut the available services by $40 million and ignored all the recommendations from the taskforce. Previously funded treatment and services have either been completely deleted or restricted, and there is no new funding to develop more effective treatments. So, for the Australians unable to work due to chronic pain, they will now be unable to even afford the treatments they were using. As a consequence, they will be poorer and sicker than ever before.

This announcement has outraged every Australian who experiences chronic pain, as well as their families, practitioners, researchers and support organisations. To protest against this sheer abandonment of chronic pain patients and raise awareness of the need for more support and research, Chronic Pain Australia is supporting an “Ease the Pain” campaign throughout the month of March. You can check out the website here, where you can find further information and suggestions of ways to show your support.

It is quite unbelievable, that in the run up to a federal election due to be held in May, the Australian Government is adding yet another group of people to a very long list of Australians who are sick to death of a government that is completely out of step with their needs and concerns. To all the Australians who feel ignored and abandoned by this Coalition Government, the ballot box beckons!  

9 thoughts on “Ease the Pain

  1. Just looking at the Ease the pain website now. Well done for highlighting yet another important health issue. I wonder if they have considered the loss to the economy from this, due to the impact on productivity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was actually Bec who put me onto it. She follows the news from the Migraine Association, but yes, the impact on productivity as well as people’s physical and mental health will ultimately cost us more in the long run.

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    • Wouldn’t it be nice if that were the case, but glad you did detect my note of sarcasm. Sometimes you just wonder what is going through politicians heads. Bec follows the news from the Migraine community, and reports how the government repeatedly note that migraine is not a national priority – despite the huge number of people who have it. Just like chronic pain. The thing is, it’s probably mostly women who end up suffering in silence, as always.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Rowena, it was my daughter Bec who alerted me to the changes and the campaign. It’s always interesting how funding cuts that have a significant impact on people’s lives are slid in quietly and people often don’t know about it until it’s too late. Thanks for sharing – the more people know the better.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know what you mean about significant ges being slipped between the lines. I’m not a fan of Donald Trump but he did bring to light the whole issue of fake news and it seems like he was even prophetic. It’s got worse.

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