Patients "wait in pain" to access public treatment services

Experts believe problems with over-subscribing opioids such as morphine for pain relief could be eased by improving access to such services.

The study, published today in the
MJA, surveyed 57 public and private pain management services and five specialised pediatric services across Australia.

Co-author Dr Malcolm Hogg, head of pain services at Royal Melbourne Hospital, said the median wait time for publicly-funded adult pain management services was five months compared to 38.5 days for private services.

A quarter of those surveyed had waits of one year and the longest wait time was more than two years, he told AAP.

He said overseas studies suggested patients' physical and psychological
health deteriorated if they waited more than six months for treatment.