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THS - Pain Management Services - Northern Tasmania

Thursday 12 November 2020

Question without notice


An answer provided by the Government on 27 November 2018 indicated that the Tasmanian Health Service would implement a pain management service plan for the state's north and north-west and that the service would commence in the first quarter of 2019.

Will the honourable Leader advise -

(1) Has a pain service coordinator been appointed?

(2) On what basis is the pain service coordinator employed - full-time, part-time?

(3) What amount of funding has been provided and spent on setting up these services after the end of the immediate past financial year?

(4) What specific progress has been made towards establishing pain management services in the north and north-west?

(5) When can we expect these services to be implemented and fully functioning in the north and north-west?


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

The Department of Health advises that a pain service coordinator has not yet been appointed. Recruitment of relevant practitioner positions to deliver more pain management services across the north and north-west have been particularly challenging, which has been amplified due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the department and the Tasmanian Health Service are continuing to work together to pursue all available recruitment options.

The Tasmanian Government is committed to delivering the quality pain management services which are currently available for patients in the north and north-west Tasmania through a number of initiatives.

The THS has partnered with the Royal Flying Doctor Service Victoria to provide access to online telehealth appointments with a pain specialist. Patients with issues relating to difficult chronic pain problems, those requiring opioids or non-opioid medication review and possible opioid misuse or dependence issues are suitable for telehealth appointments.

It is understood that a number of GP clinics in the north or north-west of Tasmania have also signed up to utilise the telehealth pain management service. The THS has also established a statewide pain management clinical network with Dr Hilton Francis as chair. The Tasmanian Pain Management Network is responsible for the strategic direction and delivery of pain management services across the continuum of care in the THS. The TPMN aims to provide high-level leadership, expertise and specialist clinical advice to the THS, clinicians and other stakeholders to promote optimal health outcomes in the area of pain management services in Tasmania, establishing links with GPs, consumers and other relevant state and national bodies.

In addition, the Tasmanian Health Service and Department of Health are working in collaboration with Primary Health Tasmania to develop a Tasmanian pain management strategy that will provide the foundation and framework for the delivery of pain management services throughout the state. Consultation has extended to consumers and public and private providers with an interest in pain management services. The Tasmanian pain management strategy will provide an agreed framework in which pain management services are delivered equitably across Tasmania while optimising patient outcomes and experiences through providing value-based care.

Alternative models of care using allied health and nursing staff are also being explored to meet the need for persistent pain management care in the north and the north-west of Tasmania.


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