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Accessing persistent pain management services

Queensland Health’s persistent pain services are for people who require a team approach to managing their complex pain. These specialist pain services follow the latest research, which focuses living well and learning strategies and skills to help people manage their pain.

How these specialist services work

Queensland’s persistent pain management services have skilled teams that understand pain and have expertise in wellbeing for complex persistent pain. These services rely on patients and/or their carers to take an active role in learning self-management techniques, and on GPs to be the central healthcare professional supporting care.

There are 6 clinics across Queensland:

Learn more about the service locations and the regions they service.

Health professionals at these pain services can include:

  • Specialist doctors in pain and rehabilitation
  • Psychiatrists
  • Nurses
  • Psychologists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Music therapists
  • Allied health assistants

The self-management approach

Self-management is an active process. It involves learning about your pain and practising skills daily to support your lived experience and overall quality of life. This approach is backed by pain research to be the best way to control persistent pain in the long term.

Self-management:

  • focuses on you taking control of your pain management by making and participating in decisions
  • requires you to build skills to improve day-to-day living despite pain
  • involves acceptance that pain management may not take the pain away completely
  • work with others who support your pain management
  • involves tracking your progress to achieve success and reflection.

What are the benefits

Patients of these services benefit by:

  • accessing to a team of health professionals that understand persistent pain
  • learning skills and strategies to feel in charge and in control of pain and their body
  • learning skills to help in other areas of life including coping with school or work stresses and other health conditions
  • social benefits of meeting other people with a similar lived experience and learning.

How to access this service

As specialist pain services, Queensland Health persistent pain services are only accessible by referral from a medical officer, such as a GP.

Persistent pain is a complex issue, and not everyone who experiences persistent pain is suited for a persistent pain service. Your GP will work with you to help decide if the service is best for you and your needs and will assess your situation to see if you’re eligible for referral.

The referral process

If your GP is progressing to a referral, they will start the process. Some services require potential patients complete a pain questionnaire as part of the referral, your GP will let you know if you or your parent/carer need to complete it. Everyone’s pain is unique, so these pain questionnaires are vital to help persistent pain teams understand how pain affects you and your family.

The service will assess your referral and contact your GP with the outcome. If it’s been accepted, you and your GP will be notified in writing along with how long you can expect to wait for your first appointment.

What happens if you aren’t accepted?

If your referral is not accepted, the service will notify your GP. Your GP is the best person to explain why.

Some reasons may include:

  • there may not be enough information on the referral or further investigations need to be carried out
  • your needs may be better met with a different service provider or in a different setting
  • it may not be the best time for the persistent pain service to get involved particularly if you are actively receiving treatment from other specialists for your pain.

It’s not uncommon for people to have seen many healthcare professionals and explore different treatments in their pain journey. This is why the GP plays a central role to your care coordination.

Service locations

Persistent pain services may service multiple Hospital and Health Service areas, your GP can check which service is right for your referral. If you are unsure which Hospital and Health Service you are in, please refer to the Hospital and Health Services map.

Hospital and Health Service region Persistent Pain Service Age limit
Statewide
All regions Queensland Interdisciplinary Paediatric Persistent Pain Service Up to 17 years, or completion of secondary school
Regional Queensland

Torres and Cape York
Cairns and Hinterland
Townsville
Mackay

North Queensland Persistent Pain Management Service No age limit

Central West
North West

North Queensland Persistent Pain Management Service

No age limit
Tess Cramond Pain and Research Centre 16 years and over
Central Queensland Tess Cramond Pain and Research Centre 16 years and over

Darling Downs
South West

Tess Cramond Pain and Research Centre

16 years and over

Gold Coast Interdisciplinary Persistent Pain Centre

16 years and over
West Moreton

Tess Cramond Pain and Research Centre

16 years and over

Gold Coast Interdisciplinary Persistent Pain Centre

16 years and over
Metro South Pain Rehabilitation Centre 16 years and over
Sunshine Coast Persistent Pain Management Service No age limit

Wide Bay
Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast Persistent Pain Management Service

No age limit
Gold Coast Gold Coast Interdisciplinary Persistent Pain Centre 16 years and over
Brisbane
Metro North Tess Cramond Pain and Research Centre 16 years and over
Metro South Metro South Pain Rehabilitation Centre 16 years and over