Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) is Western Australia’s hospital for children. In 2014 PMH took the first steps toward establishing a dedicated pain service – it is early days. Here is the story of why this unit is so needed.
What is a Pain Unit and Why Does PMH Need One?
A child with a broken arm is dealing with acute pain. Other children deal with pain on a much longer term basis – this is called chronic pain or persistent pain, and the underlying causes and potential treatments can be a lot more complex.
A dedicated pain unit is a team of doctors and health professionals working under the leadership of a paediatric pain specialist. A dedicated pain unit has more resources to help children with complex pain conditions. Read Harry’s Story to get more of an understanding about why PMH isn’t resourced well enough to respond to complex pain conditions.
Why does PMH need a dedicated pain unit?
- WA children at PMH don’t have access to specialist pain services the way adults do at Fremantle and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.
- Children with chronic pain attend PMH Emergency in crisis, but the lack of a pain unit means there are limitations on what is provided to them.
- The WA Pain Forum has identified children’s pain services as being an area of priority. Dr Stephanie Davies, a pain expert, has said there is a huge gap in services by not having a child pain unit.
- The Health Consumer Council WA has stated the management of chronic pain in children is under-resourced at PMH
- The Australian Medical Journal (2 April 2012 ) has documented outpatient persistent pain management services in Australia and stated “greater service provision is required in rural areas and for children”.
Speech to Health Consumer Council of WA: PMH Needs A Dedicated Pain Unit.
Story in The West Australian: Parents plea for help with kids in pain
Medical Journal of Australia (Apr 2012): Why is unmanaged pain still a problem?
Medical Journal of Australia (Apr 2012): Waiting in Pain
What You Can Do About It
Every one of us has the power to influence decision makers. If you would like to help with this campaign please write emails and letters to PMH, the Minister for Health and your local member.
Mr Philip Aylward
CEO Child & Adolescent Health Service
Princess Margaret Hospital, GPO Box D184, Perth 6840
Mr Kim Hames, Minister for Health
28th Floor, Stirling Tower
197 St Georges Terrace Perth 6000
Your Local State Member
It is also very valuable to speak with your local State member of parliament and ask them to write to the Minister for Health about your concerns.