People living with persistent pain need effective, affordable, accessible and patient-centred health system(s). APMA works closely with a wide range of other consumer health organisations, clinician groups and peak organisations in pursuit of this objective.
Consumer health organisations
On a national level APMA is an actively participating member of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF). APMA has actively supported a range of CHF campaigns, in recent times particularly focusing on the increasing out-of-pocket expenses incurred by Australian consumers. APMA representatives regularly participate in CHF conferences, workshop, events and working parties. In 2014 this included the attendance of APMA officials at CHF Health Consumer and Community Leaders' Workshops.
One of the most effective campaigns in recent years was undertaken in 2011, when a wide range of CHF member organisations united to succesfully reverse a decision by the Federal Government to overide recommendtions to list a wide range of medications on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Within six months of strong campaigning, the integrity of the PBS was saved. APMA, and many other organisations, wrote letters, lobbied politicians, lodged submissions, appeared before Senate Inquiries and mobiliserd members and supporters to express their opposition.
APMA is also a member of the Chronic Illness Alliance (CIA), and at the state level we work with and are members of many of the State consumer health peak bodies. Recognising the many lessons to be learnt from overseas experience, APMA actively supports and participates with the International Alliance of Patients' Organisations (IAPO).
APMA was a founding member of Painaustralia Ltd, the national not-for-profit body established to improve the treatment and management of pain in Australia through the implementation of the National Pain Strategy (NPS). This strategy was developed by more than 200 delegates at the Pain Summit held at Parliament House, Canberra, in March 2010 from consumer organisations including APMA, health professional and clinician organisations and industry. APMA CEO Elizabeth Carrigan and APMA member Dianna Aspinall represent consumers on the Board of Painaustralia Ltd.
APMA works closely with Painaustralia on campaigns and events, as well as with clinician organisations the Australian Pain Society and the Faculty of Pain Medicine. With our partners we seek to advance the awareness of, interest in and support for pain as a higher health priority. Information is shared and joint positions developed and presented. Collaborative relationships with State persistent pain networks, Primary Health Networks and individual hospitals and pain clinics are a priority, and pursued actively.