Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington

December 17, 2021

There is no data available on the number of referrals from the South Burnett to specialist pain clinics, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has admitted.

On November 16, Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington submitted a Question on Notice to the Minister in regards to Queensland Health services for South Burnett residents who suffer from persistent or chronic pain.

Three days later, she sponsored a petition to State Parliament from a local resident pushing for a persistent pain/chronic pain clinic to be established in the South Burnett.

That petition, which closes on February 28, has been signed by 538 people so far.

In her Question on Notice, Mrs Frecklington asked Minister D’Ath to clarify:

(a) When consideration will be given to establishing a persistent pain clinic based in the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service region,

(b) How many referrals for patients from the South Burnett were received at pain clinics in Brisbane or the Gold Coast between January 1, 2018, and October 31, 2021,

(c) What is the current wait time for patients to receive an initial appointment at the pain clinics in Brisbane or the Gold Coast, and

(d) What is being done to address these wait times given the demand for pain care services?

Minister D’Ath’s response:

In respect to the Member’s questions, I have been advised as follows.

Persistent Pain Management Services are not currently provided by Darling Downs Health.

Consumers from the Darling Downs region, including the South Burnett, may be referred by their General Practitioner to the Gold Coast Interdisciplinary Persistent Pain Management Service at Robina Hospital or Professor Tess Cramond Multidisciplinary Pain Centre at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

Prior to 2010, Professor Tess Cramond Multidisciplinary Pain Centre was the only publicly funded and multidisciplinary pain service with appropriately expert staff in Queensland.

Following a significant funding commitment in 2010-11, as part of the Queensland Persistent Pain Strategy 2010-2015, four additional adult services were established. From 2015-16 funding was provided to formalise a statewide paediatric persistent pain service based out of Children’s Health Queensland.

The remaining Hospital and Health Services refer their patients to one of the six Persistent Pain Management Services, based on catchment zones.

Queensland Health has a focus on improving access to high quality, cost effective care for Queenslanders and reducing the economic and life burden that is associated with this highly prevalent condition.

To demonstrate Queensland Health’s commitment to pain services, in March 2017, the Statewide Persistent Pain Management Clinical Network was established in response to a request by clinicians working within persistent pain services across Queensland to improve patient access to evidence based multidisciplinary care.

The Network is led by a multidisciplinary steering committee with geographical and service delivery representation including both public and private pain specialists in adult, adolescent and paediatric pain management, allied health professionals including physiotherapists, occupational therapists and psychologists, senior clinical nurses, General Practitioners, and a consumer with lived experience.

The Member has asked for data specific to the South Burnett and I am advised that the department does not hold the data at the specific level of that region.

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