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How Care Plans Can Help Pelvic Pain

GPs in Australia manage a broad range of medical conditions and health concerns for their patients on a daily basis. Within the profession, there are GPs who have developed special interest areas. Most of these GPs will have pursued extra training and education to maintain their expertise. Common examples of special interest areas for GPs include women’s health, child and infant health, mental health, and musculoskeletal conditions. All GPs though are familiar with the management of chronic medical conditions.

A chronic medical condition is one which has been, or is likely to be present for longer than 6 months. Chronic pelvic pain which has been impacting on a woman or girl’s life for longer than 6 months, whether or not endometriosis has been formally diagnosed, is a chronic condition. This is important because the management of chronic conditions in Australia attracts funding from Medicare to enable patients to see allied health practitioners, once a GP management plan with a team care arrangement has been put in place by a GP.

Management plans are prepared by your GP, or by a practice nurse working under the supervision of your GP. These plans are designed to help you manage your chronic medical conditions, especially where the treatment is complex and a range of services will be required. Once you have agreed to have a care plan prepared, an appointment will be made to enable this service to be performed. At that appointment you should expect to have your medical problems identified, goals for treatment outlined, and a plan constructed outlining how to work towards those goals. A review of the plan should be set for 3 to 6 months’ time to review progress.

Once a GP management plan has been developed, a Team Care Arrangement (TCA) can be developed. The TCA lists the health professionals involved in your care, and your GP or the practice nurse will contact each of the contributors to ensure that they are happy to be involved. The TCA encourages open communication between members of the treating team, and this will be reviewed along with the management plan at the 3 to 6 month mark. Once your TCA is developed, you will be able to receive Medicare funding to help with the cost of seeing allied health professionals such as the physiotherapist and the dietician.

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