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HEALTH MATTERS | The politics of pain: making pain a national health priority

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In conjunction with Pain Awareness Week, please join us for our Health Matters discussion presented by Carol Bennett, CEO of Pain Australia:

The politics of pain: making pain a national health priority

Finding the word 'pain' in major health policy or political statements in Australia has become harder than finding the Holy Grail. This is despite the fact that pain is one of the leading causes of illness and disability, and remains the most common reason people seek medical help. One in five Australians live with chronic pain (including adolescents and children) and one in three over the age of 65, yet pain remains one of the most neglected and misunderstood areas of healthcare.

Pain is common to many chronic conditions and, if proactively addressed, can significantly reduce the burden of disease, but the Chronic Conditions Framework does not mention the word ‘pain’. The National Pain Strategy provides a very good starting point for developing more effective treatment and management of pain. However, there is no government endorsement of this strategy.

Like the Knights Templar in their crusades, our efforts to ensure pain is a priority health issue need strong coordination, mission and strategic intent. We need to rethink and refocus our strategies. Our failure is diminishing the quality of life for millions of Australians experiencing chronic pain, their families and carers.

We can and must do better! Join Carol as she speaks about the Pain Australia crusade.

About the speaker

Carol Bennett has an undergraduate health science degree and Masters in Public Policy. Over the last two decades, Carol has worked at senior executive levels in national health and aged care organisations and has served on national and international boards and advisory groups. Carol has been National CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia, Consumers Health Forum of Australia, Rural Health Workforce Australia and Executive Officer of the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association. She is a current member of the Medicines Australia Advisory Council, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency National Paramedicine Board and Director of Lifeline Canberra.

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