A pioneering private medical centre dedicated to helping people with chronic pain has opened on Canberra’s north side.
The ACT Pain Centre located at the Calvary Clinic in Bruce is the first of its kind in Australia, and aims to deliver affordable pain management and decrease the waiting period for treatment for both public and private patients.
ACT Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Meegan Fitzharris officially opened the centre on Monday (3 September), and founder Dr Romil Jain said it would be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for pain management offering access to pain specialists, a psychiatrist, addiction psychiatrist, and allied therapists such as physiotherapists, psychologists and occupational therapists all under the one roof, with a range of services that took a holistic approach to chronic pain management.
Dr Jain said that one in five Australians suffered from chronic pain, while at the same time the use of opioids and other painkillers was rising and accidental deaths associated with prescription medications outnumbered road deaths.
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“We aim to decrease the burden of disease in our community, and help contain the opioid epidemic. We aim not only to treat chronic pain but also work on the preventative aspect which is frequently forgotten,” he said.
“Early intervention in a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary supportive environment is the key to prevent a vicious cycle of pain and its effect on a person’s life.”
Calling chronic pain a hidden disease, he said it was the third most costly health condition costing the Australian economy and the most common cause for people leaving the work force.
“Sadly, it’s still under-recognised and treated. It’s a very complex interaction of chronic pain, mental health and drug dependency that makes it challenging to treat,” he said.
Dr Jain, who is a Specialist Pain Medicine Physician and Interventional Pain Specialist, and the Director of the Pain Management Unit at the Canberra Hospital, said it was difficult for chronic pain sufferers, who usually have to get public transport because they can’t drive, to travel from the north side to Woden.
He said that if the ACT Pain Centre could get patients who can afford it off the public waiting list, that made the public system more efficient and more accessible for patients who need treatment.
“It’s time that we think out of the box and stop relying on public hospitals for everything; we have to break this distinction of private versus public and work in collaboration to help and serve our fellow beings because pain doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor, man or woman,” he said.
“Pain is such a hush-hush issue, but we want to bring it out into the open and say to sufferers: you don’t have to live like this and help is available to empower you to manage your pain in a better way.”