By Dr Geoffrey Speldewinde
Your Board had a very busy and productive biennial weekend meeting from August 14-16 in Sydney. This opportunity enables discussions to provide detail and depth for the many issues which your Australian Pain Society is involved, and to develop strategies going forward. It is also an opportunity to meet and greet the newer Board members and for them to be familiarised with the machinations of the APS Board!
I provide some feedback as follows:
- Media Training: Five of us along with Frances James, current President of the New Zealand Pain Society, participated in a full-day training workshop run by a very experienced and senior national journalist. The workshop improved our understanding of how print, radio and TV media operates and how deadlines drive their days. I am not sure that we in our jobs have as much to complain about as far as deadlines and schedules are concerned!
He reassuringly described that we in the APS have wonderful, potentially vastly underutilised human interest stories, for all forms of media. He convincingly portrayed these stories would be looked on favourably for anything we had to offer. It just needs to be packaged in a way that grabs their, and thus their readers/listeners/watchers, interest. E.g. We discussed a potential media release heading: ‘opiates are poisoning Australians’ vs ‘opiates are harming Australians’. Rhetorically speaking, which would be more effective overall if the goal is to have a story actually run?
Your board and President, intend running with some media releases over the coming year and would value any feedback from you, the members, on whose behalf we are doing this!
- Social Media: this is linked to the above. It seems clear that all of us at the APS (that includes you the member) would benefit from continued but appropriate interaction via social media platforms. This will be used to communicate both with you the members in greater real-time, and vice versa, as well as with the wider multiple communities around us. However this does not come at no cost both in terms of (voluntary) time and expense. The Board would be happy to hear from any members able and interested in assisting this process. Any blog ideas out there?
- ePPOC heading for an ePPIC?! We had an update from ePPOC (electronic Persistent Pain Outcomes Collaboration). It is an excellent initiative still under trial by many members of the APS. There have been over 6000 intake questionnaires completed by nearly 40 centres nationally and entered onto the database (with some quite interesting data). However it is EXTREMELY disappointing and challenging that there have only been 40 questionnaires completed at a follow-up stage!
If this follow-up rate is not improved over the next 12 months then one can imagine some tinkering will be required including that it is renamed for what it is, i.e. an electronic Persistent Pain INTAKE Collaboration. So, to all participants do what you can to raise the OUTCOMES data collection rate!
- As part of our advocacy role for both members and our communities the APS has lodged its own submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Prevention and Management of Chronic Diseases in Primary Care. We have also supported Painaustralia, of which the APS is one of 2 major supporters (with FPM) in its application to the Commonwealth’s Department of Health “Health Peak and Advisory Bodies Programme”.
- Our Annual Scientific Meetings continue to be the flagship event for you and your Society. The Board will continue to consolidate and expand this event through the Scientific Program Committee. Within the tight schedule there are add-ons. The discipline-specific 1 hour fora held late on the Sunday afternoon prior to the welcome reception have been a useful mechanism for a more direct interchange between board and specific disciplines; many issues raised are discussed by your board and from which an action may eventuate. The profits from these annual meetings are ploughed back to help fund the increasing activities of your APS and have helped minimise rises in membership subscriptions.
- We recognise the steady growth of Pain Societies in the Asian region and we will continue to foster these relationships through ASM interchanges. In time we may see the creation of an “AsiaOceaniAustralasian Federation of IASP Chapters” similar to EFIC in Europe