Pain Management Unit at Flinders Medical Centre
The Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) Pain Management Unit (PMU) is an interdisciplinary outpatient service. It provides assessment and management for patients with persistent or chronic pain. Services are provided to patients referred from metropolitan and regional areas and includes an inpatient consultation service at FMC and Jamie Larcombe Centre.
The service comprises specialist pain clinicians working as an integrated team to address the physical and psycho-social factors that may impact on the persistence of pain and its consequent functional limitations.
This interdisciplinary service has specialists in:
- pain medicine /interventions
Head of Unit: Dr Porhan Kang
Deputy Director: Dr Jonathan Chan
- Dr Porhan Kang
- Dr Jonathan Chan (Neuromodulation lead)
- Dr Medhat Wahba
- Dr Venugopal Kochiyil
- Dr Hima Venugopal
- Dr Peter Herriot (Chief Psychiatrist)
Allied Health Manager: Noel Markham
Senior Clinical Psychologist: Rowena Holmes
Senior Physiotherapists: Noel Markham, Marinda Rothmann, Damien West
Admin Manager: Sybil Sim, Sammy Illman
Nurse Unit Manager: Karen Eldredge, Luke Chester
Research Scientist/Data Statistician: Dr Amelia Searle
Patients are referred to the service from medical practitioners and specialists, and there is close liaison with patients through general practitioners, palliative care, and home nursing.
What we do
Our team of health professionals work with people living with chronic pain to improve their quality of life.
Chronic pain can affect multiple areas of a person’s life and we assist patients and their families to develop long term skills and strategies to improve their daily physical, social and emotional functioning in addition to pain procedures where appropriate.
We do not offer an:
- addiction service
- opioid, medicinal cannabis, or benzodiazepine prescribing service
- validation or assistance with Disability Support Pension, NDIS and Income support applications.
Services we do provide include:
- Interventional pain procedures, where appropriate
- Pain Management Programmes: group and individual programs
- Education on the science of pain and ways to manage it
- Active self-management strategies
- Individual management plans to support activities close to home and/or with a community service
- Supported by follow-up coaching where appropriate
- Cancer/Palliative pain management.
What to expect
Patient referrals from GPs or specialists are triaged and if suitable, will be placed into appropriate care category. Patients will then be placed on the waiting list corresponding to their triage category and be informed when an appointment is available.
The majority of patients will be invited to attend a group information session first and asked to complete a questionnaire about their chronic pain.
Introductory Pain Information Group
Most patients will be invited to a group information session.
This is an opportunity to hear from health professionals about:
- pain management strategies that may help a person with chronic pain
- latest information on chronic pain
- our services: clarity of what we do and don’t do
- Personal Pain Plan – the patient can start thinking about what the best pain management approach for them might be. This plan should be discussed with their family and GP. The GP can action the Personal Pain Plan as follows:
- appropriate referrals or access to community services (such as gym, pool, physiotherapy) close to home
- an updated referral with more specific goals (in line with the plan) to the Pain Management Unit.
A patient may be offered individual appointments with one or more of our team members, depending on their pain management needs and requirements.
Patients may also be offered a pain health coach to support them to put self-management strategies into practice. Coaching is mostly delivered over the phone or through telehealth but can also be face-to-face.
Pain Management Workshops
Pain management programmes are offered for people with persistent pain that affects their quality of life and where there is a significant impact on their physical, psychological and social function.
The FMC Pain Management Unit provides a variety of workshops that provide support, education, and therapy with the goal of helping patients make sense of their pain and improve their quality of life. The aim is to maximise their fitness, movement, and function to optimise everyday activities.
Interdisciplinary Panel Assessment
In some cases, patients may be invited to attend an interdisciplinary panel assessment, in particular those referred from rural and remote areas.
This means a patient may see two or more health professionals at the same time (usually a Pain Physician, Psychologist and Physiotherapist) to assess and formulate a comprehensive, integrated treatment and management plan.
- The Pain Management Unit is internationally recognised for its clinical programs and research into slow-release morphine preparations, implantable devices, neuromodulation devices and procedural interventions, as well as pain management programs.
- The Pain Management Unit is the State-wide centre of referral for Spinal Cord Stimulator implant.
- The Pain Management Unit is an accredited Level 1 training unit for Faculty of Pain Medicine (ANZCA) fellowship training with opportunities in interventions/pain procedures
- Research presentations at national and international pain conferences
- 2019 SA Health Awards, Chief Executives Imitation Award - runner up
- 2019 SALHN Excellence Awards – runner up
Referral forms and processes are outlined in the outpatient referral process section.
- SA Health Chronic Pain
- Chronic Pain Management factsheet
- Frequently Asked Questions (PDF 296KB)
- Managing Chronic Pain poster (PDF 626KB)
Our service operates across two sites:
Flinders Medical Centre (for all enquiries and referrals)
Telephone: (08) 8204 5499
Fax: (08) 8204 5440
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 4.00pm
Location: Level 2, Flinders Medical Centre
Directions: Use Western Carpark, enter through Northern Entrance
Destination will be immediately on the left after entering through Northern Entrance
Map: Flinders Medical Centre Precinct Map (PDF 587KB)
GP Plus Marion (Pain programs)
Telephone: (08) 7425 8234
Fax: (08) 8204 5440
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 4.00pm
Location: GP Plus Health Care Centre Marion | 10 Milham Street Oaklands Park
Directions: Use SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre Carpark, enter through Basement Carpark Access lifts or Main Entrance to Marion GP Plus Marion
Map: GP Plus Marion - Pain Management Unit (PDF 65KB)