Pain management health practitioner education strategy project

The faculty is leading a project to develop a pain management education strategy for Australian health practitioners.

Funded by the Department of Health’s Public Health and Chronic Disease Program, the project supports goal three of the National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management (the Action Plan). 


Around one in five Australians live with chronic pain, a number projected to rise in future years. Chronic pain is one of the world's major healthcare needs, with serious financial and social implications for individuals, families and communities.

Best practice in pain management involves care delivered by inter- and multi-disciplinary teams under the sociopsychobiomedical approach. Despite the need for skilled health practitioners from multiple disciplines to address the growing burden of pain on the community, there is generally limited pain management content in health practitioner education at all levels worldwide. In Australia, pain management education varies greatly across health practitioner disciplines, geographic locations and education stages.

National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management

In 2010, Australia was one of the first countries in the world to develop a National Pain Strategy. The Department of Health published the follow up National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management (the Action Plan) in 2019.
The Action Plan “sets out key priority actions to improve access to, and knowledge of, best practice pain management" (p.1). One key priority area is pain management education for health practitioners, and Goal Three of the Action Plan aims to ensure “health practitioners are well-informed and skilled on best practice evidence-based care and are supported to deliver this care” (p.16).
In 2020, the federal Department of Health’s Public Health and Chronic Disease Program awarded a number of grants to progress the Action Plan goals.

Pain management health practitioner education strategy project

Supporting Goal Three of the Action Plan, the project aims to develop a considered, strategic approach to promote evidence-based pain management education across health practitioner disciplines, through undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing education. 

The completed strategy will define a nationally consistent and comprehensive set of principles and goals to inform the development and implementation of pain management content within health practitioner education programs, at all levels. The strategy will be centred around the needs of health practitioners as learners and the needs of people requiring pain care, as well as promote a sociopsychobiomedical approach to pain management.


Stakeholder consultation process

To ensure the final strategy is well informed by key stakeholder input and underpinned by a multidisciplinary perspective, we are implementing a broad stakeholder consultation process throughout 2021.

Stakeholder consultation workshops
In March and April, the project team embarked on a national stakeholder consultation workshop roadshow. We conducted three workshops face-to-face in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney and four via Zoom for participants from across the country. There was a specific workshop for those working in rural and remote Australia. The workshops were an excellent opportunity to engage with stakeholders from across the spectrum of pain care and health practitioner education.
During the sessions, participants worked together in multi-disciplinary groups, brainstorming ideas to inform the strategy’s: values, underpinning principles and goals, as well as implementation considerations and recommendations. Data collected at the workshops will be used to inform the strategy drafting process over the coming months.

Draft strategy - Invitation to comment 
We will open an invitation to comment on the draft strategy on this page in early 2022.

If you have any questions about the project, or would like more information about the stakeholder consultation process, please contact the Project Officer, Katy Elliott

Last updated 15:01 24.05.2024