14 Jun 2018

NZ academics ponder low pain clinic attendance by some

5:17 pm on 14 June 2018

New research has shown many Pasifika people in New Zealand do not seek hospital help to cope with chronic pain.

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Chronic pain is defined as any pain that lasts for more than three months and treatment can help people not only physically, but socially, psychologically and spiritually.

Research undertaken by the Auckland University of Technology's School of Clinical Services studied which ethnicities most often use hospital pain clinic services.

Associate Professor Gwyn Lewis said there were significant disparities, with Europeans much more likely to attend the clinics compared with New Zealand Asians or Pasifika.

She said they are yet to establish why this is, but the cost of doctors' visits may be a deterrent.

"There are many potential reasons. Normally access to the clinic pain services is a referral from a GP, so it could be that people are not attending the GPs. Maybe for cost reasons they are not going there for their pain in the first place.

"It could be GPs aren't referring people on, whether that might be a subconscious decision based on someone's ethnicity."