By Dr Malcolm Hogg
At our Hobart ASM, the society board introduced discipline-specific forums to promote stronger communication with our membership and gather feedback regarding issues facing different disciplines. We thank members for their participation and have been reflecting on the input we received. The concerns raised regarding activity-based funding is being addressed through our ongoing discussion with the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA), specifically aimed at attaining a funding classification for multidisciplinary outpatient pain management services.
A recurring theme from our members involved building relationships with their professional bodies, including opportunities for cross organisation educational opportunities, such as input into the development of pain networks, contributions to electronic resources, and pain refresher workshops at respective ASM’s. This model would build on the success of the Fundamentals of Pain day, and this year’s Physiotherapy in Pain Management preconference session, such that the Australian Pain Society and its members can increase their profiles and relationships with discipline-specific organisations. Our members have requested we open discussions to establish attendance at our ASM as a contribution to their CPD requirements. Opportunities exist for us to influence the standards for sub-specialty recognition in pain management.
Many scientific researchers involved in pain do not have sufficient knowledge of our organisation or our ASM as an alternative forum for learning and discussion: extending our reach could lead to mutual benefits including a strengthened scientific program and greater participation by researchers. Clinically, a number of our members reported support for the development of knowledge and resources regarding pain in specific groups, including the indigenous and refugee population, and updating our management strategies for Pain in Aged Care Facilities.
Whilst we continue to look forward in order to maintain sustainability, the executive is conscious of the need to formally document the history of the APS. As we approach our 35th Annual Scientific Meeting in Brisbane, a document recording our history has been commissioned. Lessons learnt and friendships forged will be reflected, in order to recognise strong contributions from across the disciplines and the nation. Clinical leaders who initiated and contributed to the early years of the Australian Chapter, including our founding members (from 1979) are nearing the end of their working lives, so now is the time to reflect, learn and acknowledge their leadership. Past executives’ prudent management of the scientific meeting and of the societies finances should ensure our sustainability, a luxury not afforded our initial board members. Australia’s strong international leadership in multidisciplinary pain management and research continues and reflects positively on the Australian Pain Society’s past leaders from all disciplines, so we aim to document and acknowledge these contributions. Our history document will be flexible in format and allow for additions as we continue to evolve and grow beyond 2015.