Pain Management Services - Lack - North and North-West Tasmania

Ms ARMITAGE question to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT

[2.54 p.m.]

Persistent or chronic pain is seen in every age group, from paediatric to geriatric, and across all medical and surgical disciplines. Because of the complexity of persistent pain problems, multidisciplinary pain clinics and centres have been developed throughout Australia and New Zealand. The North West Regional Hospital and Launceston General Hospital do not currently offer any level of persistent pain management services. Private providers do exist. The Royal Hobart Hospital is a level 6 service but is not currently resourced to provide a statewide service.

There are no pain management specialists in the north or north-west regions of Tasmania, which can lead to the excessive use of opioids by patients. My questions, honourable Leader, are -

(1) Do you acknowledge the Royal Hobart Hospital's pain service cannot cover the state and that the lack of persistent pain services for north and north-west Tasmania is a problem?

(2) A Tasmanian Health Service - THS - business case submitted in October 2016 proposes models to improve statewide pain services in line with the One Health System white paper and the Tasmanian Role Delineation Framework as a 'high priority', which was Appendix 2A. Why has there been no progress on implementing these improvements and when is it likely to occur?

ANSWER

Mr President, I thank the member for Launceston for her questions.

(1) Increasing access to specialist treatments for people in north and north-west Tasmania with pain conditions is a priority of this Government. The Royal Hobart Hospital Persistent Pain Service provides an important role in providing services for Tasmanians with complex pain needs that are unable to be addressed in the community.

It is acknowledged that there are some service gaps in north and north-west Tasmania and the THS is working to address these.

(2) The THS is currently working to address identified service gaps by changing the way pain services are provided in Tasmania. The focus is on developing a statewide model of care that increases persistent pain services to the people of north and north-west Tasmania in a safe and sustainable way.

This is a complex service change which will take time and will involve many services and stakeholders. The business case authored by the Musculoskeletal Clinical Advisory Group in 2016 proposed a number of recommendations that are being considered as part of designing and implementing the service change.

A steering committee led by THS Executive Director, Allied Health Services has been established to lead this work.

Pain Management Services - Lack - North and North-West Tasmania

Ms ARMITAGE question to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT

[2.57 p.m.]

I will put this supplementary question in writing, but with respect, Leader, you have not answered the question by saying that it is actually happening: when is it likely to occur? Could you give me a time frame?

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