Senior doctors urge Government to address chronic pain burden
“The Government needs to make sure the public health system has enough specialists to treat chronic pain to relieve the burden of suffering for patients and their families,” says Angela Belich, Deputy Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).
She was commenting on new research published today by the Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE1903/S00028/burden-of-chronic-pain-in-nz-worse-than-diabetes-dementia.htm and https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/384209/chronic-pain-widespread-with-too-few-specialists-clinics-report).
This research notes there are just 11 full-time pain medicine specialists in New Zealand and that the internationally recommended number for our population is more than four times that number.
“Chronic pain is very difficult to live with and affects so many aspects of people’s lives, including their ability to work, move around, socialise and choose suitable housing,” says Ms Belich.
“Senior doctors, like other front-line health professionals, see the consequences of chronic pain in their patients, and it can be very distressing.”
She called on the Government to develop a comprehensive plan to address the resourcing and treatment of chronic pain.
“Clearly we need more pain specialists and better access to pain services. Responsibility for addressing this rests with Health Minister David Clark.”