Ethnic disparities in access to chronic pain services - NZ study findings

Ethnic disparities in access to chronic pain services - NZ study findings

29 July 2018

Based on the media release from AUT on a recent article published in New Zealand Medical Journal titled 'Ethnic disparities in attendance at New Zealand's chronic pain services'

Recent research led by Associate Professor Gwyn Lewis from Auckland University of Technology highlights ethnic disparities in attendance at New Zealand's chronic pain services.

Data collected across seven district health boards (DHBs), covering almost 60 percent of the country, was used to compare the expected and actual attendance at chronic pain services.

Europeans were over-represented by nine percent, while people of Pacific and Asian descent were under-represented by 58 percent and 49 percent respectively. Māori were under-represented by seven percent.

Associate Professor Gwyn Lewis at AUT's School of Clinical Sciences says: "The people who are attending our chronic pain services are not representative of the New Zealand population. Ethnic minority groups tend to be significantly under-represented and show more severe symptoms."

Recommendations of the study

Associate Professor Lewis says it's important to raise awareness and understanding of chronic pain services among Māori, Pacific and Asian communities, as well as the GPs that serve them.

The recommendations of the study include greater diversity across health promotions and clinical staff, as well as longer consultations to help build relationships and establish trust. Current pain therapy options could also be adapted to make them more culturally meaningful.

"It would be relatively easy to integrate Māori, Pacific and Asian cultural practices, because multidisciplinary chronic pain services are holistic by nature. One of the only things missing is a spiritual component," she says.

About the study

The study was a collaborative project between AUT's Health and Rehabilitation Research Institute and Counties Manukau District Health Board, which began as a self-initiated review of the chronic health services of the latter. The initial work was carried out by fourth-year physiotherapy students at AUT.

Source: Published on Scoop Health


NZ Pain Research