Chronic Pain Paradigm on the Peninsula

Ms Noelene Cooper1

1Country SA PHN, Nuriootpa, Australia



Chronic pain is a major health issue, with the National Pain Strategy describing it as “Australia’s third most costly health problem and arguably the developed world’s largest ‘undiscovered’ health priority. Across country areas in particular, General Practice is on the front line of pain management efforts.  A national survey of Australian General Practice estimates the prevalence of chronic pain among patients at almost 20%, with the large majority relying on pharmacological management.  This includes a third of these patients being prescribed opioids, a therapy whose efficacy and safety for chronic non‑cancer pain is not supported by the current evidence base.   Country SA PHN is partnering with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) Pain Management Unit to deliver a pilot project in 4 General Practices on the Yorke Peninsula, SA to improve the effectiveness of chronic pain management through whole of person care.

What is happening in your project/health service/or what has been your experience

The project is engaging local General Practices and Allied Health Providers, with Primary Health Care (PHC) Nurses being targeted as an integral part of the project. The QEH Pain Management Unit is providing expert chronic pain management to the referred patients and education to support Allied Health and the role of the PHC Nurse to provide ongoing management of these patients through a ‘’Pain Care Plan’’ allowing them to receive multi-disciplinary, evidence based care locally.


The project commenced in July 2017 and will continue until June 2019, so far:

  • 73 patients have been referred into the project
  • 41 patients have been reviewed by the QEH Pain Management Unit
  • 3 patient information sessions have been held with 42 attendees and 15 carers attending
  • 4 multidisciplinary education sessions have been held with 170 attendees

Patient outcomes are being monitored closely during the project.


Noelene Cooper CSAPHN Project Manager has worked in health for thirty years including; Pharmacy, General Practice, Divisions of General Practice and Medicare Locals. Noelene has a Diploma in Population Health and manages the After Hours Program and the Chronic Pain Management Project.

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