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Far West Outreach Pain Management Education and Service

Pain management specialistA new specialist pain management service has commenced in Broken Hill, providing outreach support including telehealth, multi-disciplinary support and General Practice site visits.

The specialist pain service program is delivered via a partnership between Far West Local Health District (FW LHD), Western NSW Primary Health Network, Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation, Northern Sydney Local Health District and HammondCare Health & Hospitals (representing Greenwich Hospital Pain Management Service).

Dr Amanda Johns (pain specialist) and David Monck (pain CNC) are based at Greenwich Hospital, providing the Greenwich/Far West Chronic Pain Telehealth Service. They can now receive referrals from GP's based in Broken Hill, as well as provide email and phone advice for more timely advice on patient management. In addition to individual consultations, there is a monthly one hour group telehealth education session for all new referrals.

The program aims to build local capacity by providing clinical service delivery for clients, as well as training and education for the Broken Hill staff of the FW LHD and primary care clinicians (including GPs, Allied Health and Mental health clinicians).

Broken Hill Nurse Practitioner Kathy Mitchell has been utilising the service, conducting successful telehealth consultations with Dr Johns and Mr Monck. Patients have welcomed the new program, as it saves them travelling long distances for a similar appointment.

Whilst there are limitations to the program - namely the limited physical examination techniques - the use of the videoconference facilities, along with Ms Mitchell’s assistance, helps to overcome these barriers. As the program evolves, having the GP involved at the appointment will be encouraged and MBS item numbers are available for the GP to claim.

It is exciting to be able to offer specialist pain services while minimising travel time and inconvenience to patients.

Referrals are to be faxed to 02 9903 8269 or email to
Phone advice is available on 02 8437 7312 (Tuesday and Wednesday).