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North Queensland Persistent Pain Management Service

Best Practice Multidisciplinary Pain Management

Pain can be defined as "An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage". Further, persistent (or chronic) pain extends beyond the expected period of healing, arbitrarily three to six months. The causes are complex and multifactorial, and so multidisciplinary treatment is required. The North Queensland Persistent Pain Management Service (NQPPMS) provides support, education and multidisciplinary therapy for those with persistent pain, with the ultimate goal of patient self-management. The NQPPMS also provides education and support to both public and private sector health care workers, in order to increase community capacity to care for patients with persistent pain.

Outpatient services:

The NQPPMS provides outpatient services on the second floor of the Medilink building, situated beside The Townsville Hospital. Current services include:

  • pre-emptive education and motivation workshops, which are the most common entry point for patients into the service
  • medical outpatient sessions
  • allied health outpatient sessions
  • medical procedural lists (facet joint injection, facet joint denervation by radiofrequency neurotomy, caudal epidural steroid injection and procedures for cancer pain including intrathecal phenol injections, intrathecal catheter insertion and coeliac plexus block)
  • patient assessment days: a thorough multidisciplinary assessment by psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and doctors
  • outreach services to Cairns, Mackay, Mount Isa and the Torres Strait
  • pain management programs are under development
  • tele-health services are under development

Prior to referral:

A number of resources have been created for clinicians to consider prior to patient referral. These include:

Persistent pain management services
Persistent pain clinics
Persistent pain resources
Referring patients to persistent pain management services

Please be aware that legislation in Queensland mandates that doctors who prescribe S8 drugs (including opioids) to patients for longer than 8 weeks are required by law to notify the Chief Executive.

Outpatient referral process:

Please note, in keeping with the Persistent Pain Statewide Services Strategy, NQPPMS provides services that are multi-disciplinary, rehabilitation and self-management oriented and time-limited. Care will return to the GP within a three to twelve month period following initial assessment.

NQPPMS requires a named referral that provides enough information to accurately triage your patients, so those in greatest need are offered more urgent appointments. To assist with this process, clinicians may use:

The patient's first point of contact with the NQPPMS is a preemptive education and motivation workshop. This may be all some patients require: they then use what they have learned under the care and guidance of their (GP and their allied health) primary care team. Alternatively, patients choose a level of engagement with the NQPPMS that is appropriate for them.

Should the patient not see a doctor, this will be made clear to the referring doctor on discharge.

Education activities:

The NQPPMS provides teaching and support to GP and allied health colleagues throughout North Queensland.

Teaching for NQPPMS staff occurs 8.30 - 9.00 each Thursday (Ross River road, Meeting Room)

The NQPPMS has gained accreditation from the Faculty of Pain Medicine, Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists to train pain medicine registrars. Training posts are available to senior trainees from anaesthetics, surgery, medicine, psychiatry and general practice. Pain medicine registrar teaching occurs each Thursday, 11.00  to 12.00.

In conjunction with Palliative Care, joint teaching sessions are provided on the third Tuesday of the month in the Palliative Care building (Cannington Lecture Theatre).

Regular education activities are held for Queensland Health staff, and primary health care providers in the community.

Statewide Persistent Pain Management Clinical Network (SPPMCN)

Persistent Pain Management


Director Dr Matthew Bryant
Allied Health Team Leader Alison Beeden
Clinical Nurse Consultant Carol Kanowski

Pain Medicine Specialists, Pain Medicine Registrars, Clinical Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Pharmacist, Administration team.

Contact Details


Medilink Retail Building 2nd Floor,
The Townsville Hospital, 100 Angus Smith Drive, Douglas QLD 4814

Postal address:

IMB 14, PO Box 670 Townsville QLD 4810


+61 7 4433 2218


+61 7 4433 2223



Clinic Hours:

Monday - Friday 8.00am-4.30pm


Ground floor - Office 2,
281 - 285 Ross River Road, Aitkenvale QLD 4814

Postal address:

IMB 117, PO Box 670 Townsville QLD 4810


+61 7 4433 5300


+61 7 4433 5301



Clinic Hours:

Monday - Friday 8.00am-4.30pm

Go to Toptop of page

Last updated: 18 July 2019

Consumer resources: Persistent pain management

Patient entry questionnaire - to be completed prior to your first appointment (PDF, 259 KB)
Patient follow up questionnaire (PDF, 252 KB)

Introduction (PDF, 495 KB)
Your pain explained (PDF, 533 KB)
Your community support team (PDF, 194 KB)
Your guide to goal setting and pacing (PDF, 103 KB)
Your guide to distress and relaxation (PDF, 160 KB)
Your guide to exercising(PDF, 126 KB)
Managing your medicines (PDF, 151 KB)
Your guide to managing flare-ups (PDF, 108 KB)
Your guide to good nutrition (PDF, 149 KB)
More information and tips (PDF 386 KB)