By Fiona Hodson

With each incoming president, the Australian Pain Society (APS) board holds a face to Hodson_F_0410_APS_2017_AJS_4773-sml_croppedface Strategic Planning Meeting (SPM). This year it was held in Sydney on the weekend of 19th to 20th August. This opportunity provides both new and existing multidisciplinary board members to evaluate the previous APS board strategic priorities, feedback from APS membership survey and develop new priorities for the APS going forward for the next 2 years based on the clinical, research and political priorities related to pain.

This year the APS executive also had a unique opportunity to invite and meet the new Painaustralia (PA) CEO Carol Bennett and Chairman Robert Regan to a “Pain Think Tank” afternoon planning discussion on Friday 18th August. Other invitees included the Dean, Vice Dean and representatives of the Faculty of Pain Medicine (FPM). This session provided a great opportunity for both the APS and FPM boards to hear directly from PA and to discuss their vision and strategic directions for pain management advocacy in Australia. It also allowed the APS and FPM an opportunity to discuss common interest and priority areas such as medicinal cannabis and codeine up scheduling issues in order to develop some key messaging opportunities with regards to government policy and media.


L to R: Will Howard, Tim Semple, Tracy Hallen, Fiona Hodson, Chris Hayes, Meredith Craigie, Geoffrey Speldewinde and Malcolm Hogg

Over the weekend there was productive debate, discussion and planning of key pain related priorities for the society from its multidisciplinary board members: The objectives rated high and medium priority include:

  1. Clinical advocacy to federal and state governments for funding and recognition of pain through submissions, e.g.: MBS item review, National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions
  2. Form an education sub-committee regarding key messaging and prevention
  3. National Pain Strategy (NPS) refresh collaboration with FPM and PA
  4. Improve linkages with primary care and medical specialists
  5. Preparing a “Guiding Principles” document from the APS Vision statement
  6. Managing codeine up scheduling and medicinal cannabis- through board representation and liaison with government
  7. Publication of 2nd edition Australian Pain Society: Pain in Residential Aged Care Facilities Management Strategies Guidelines
  8. Completion and analysis of the Waiting in Pain (WIP) 2 Project

A key focus of discussions over the weekend was around early risk identification and prevention management strategies to help prevent people from transitioning from acute to chronic pain. This will require the APS to continue to support Painaustralia to advocate for and lobby government for better access and funding of multidisciplinary evidence based pain management services and education across the tertiary public/private, community and primary care sector. There is also an opportunity for the APS to better engage the primary care sector via our Annual Scientific Meetings (ASM) regarding multidisciplinary pain content.


TAS Director, Simon Watt

In order to achieve other key priorities, the APS board will continue to work collaboratively with the Faculty of Pain Medicine (FPM), Painaustralia (PA) and utilise, when required, representatives from discipline specific organisations and societies on the APS Relationships Committee.

I look forward to the next 2 years of my presidency as I aim to achieve these APS strategic goals on behalf of the membership. I also would like to encourage members to communicate to the board any issues they would like the society to address.



About Australian Pain Society

The Australian Pain Society is a multidisciplinary body aiming to relieve pain and related suffering through leadership in clinical practice, education, research and public advocacy.


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