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Southern DHB Persistent Pain Service

Public Service, Pain Management



The Persistent Pain Service is an outpatient service made up of specialist healthcare professionals experienced and trained in the management of long term pain conditions. Persistent pain is classified as pain that has lasted more than three months and can affect all ages. At the moment all clinics and education sessions are held in Dunedin Hospital, although telehealth is available for some follow up care.  It is really helpful if before being referred to the Pain Service you ask your referring doctor to include your email address or you contact the Pain Service secretary to give your email address if you have one.

When the Pain Service receives your doctor's referral you will be sent a questionnaire. If your email address has been supplied this questionnaire will be emailed to you, if not it will be posted.  If you have access to the internet you will find it much easier to complete the questionnaires on a tablet, laptop, PC or mobile phone via  a personalised link to a website.  The paper copy posted in the envelope provided is acceptable, but slower to arrive at the Pain Service. Your referral is triaged when all the information is received.  These questionnaires are used in many pain services across New Zealand and Australia. As well as contact details the questionnaires give us  information about how long you have had pain, how it started, and baseline information of how it has affected your lifestyle and wellbeing. These questionnaires are part of a holistic assessment process using internationally recognised validated assessment tools and form part of your clinical assessment. If, for whatever reason, you have difficulty filling out the questionnaire, please contact the Pain Service administrator. It is also really important that you provide  details of all  medications. The questionnaires need to be returned before your referral can be triaged. 

As well as gathering information to help the clinicians choose appropriate strategies, in the long term as all the major Australasian Pain centres gather the same outcome measures the Dunedin Pain Service, results can be benchmarked by similar services to ensure it provides the best care.  This enables the service to have strong quality assurance measures.

The Dunedin Pain Service has treatment approaches that are evidence based and in line with worldwide trends in pain management. The mixture of specialised professionals provides a holistic approach to managing pain which can affect many aspects of a person’s life. The aim of the service, where possible, is to guide the client towards independent management of their pain condition and to enable them to have a more fulfilling life.

Usually rehabilitation strategies are as important or more important as medication approaches so education is provided in both individual and group settings. All suggested interventions are discussed with the client to enable them to make an informed choice of direction.

The Pain Service team is innovative and keen to explore international advances in pain medicine and pain management, so from time to time new approaches will be tried or offered.

The Pain Service team comprises  pain medicine specialists and allied health professionals (Clinical Psychologists, Physiotherapists and an Occupational Therapist).

Management of complex pain problems requires a multidisciplinary approach to:

  • prescribe and adjust medications
  • provide education about the nature of the problem
  • provide rehabilitation to improve quality of life and performance of daily activities. 

The Persistent Pain Team

  • Luciana Blaga, Senior Occupational Therapist
  • Tracey Hogarty, Physiotherapist
  • Wendy Lockhart, Physiotherapist 
  • Vandana Kapur, Clinical Psychologist
  • Dr Naomi White PhD, Clinical Psychologist
  • Specialist consultants below


Referral Expectations

Your general practitioner can refer you to the Persistent Pain Service to obtain advice on the assessment and treatment of a pain condition. Many more people are referred than can be seen so please return questionnaires promptly to enable triage.


Due to the fluctuating situation sometimes changes may be made to appointments to protect consumers and healthcare professionals. However, If you receive a waiting list letter asking you to phone for an appointment, please do so, and your place on the waiting list will be preserved.

Where possible follow up appointments for all members of the Pain Service team may be conducted by telehealth or telephone if required. In person appointments are the usual situation for new appointments and most medical follow up appointments.


The Persistent Pain Service is funded by the Ministry of Health so no charges apply. However the Persistent Pain Service is not contracted by ACC so patients under the care of ACC need to be referred to an ACC provider.


Mon – Fri8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Persistent Pain Service Clinics are held on varying days of the week depending on each clinician's committments with other services

Procedures / Treatments

  • Understanding Pain - Videos

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  • What to Expect at Your Pain Clinic Visit - Brochure

    More PDF

  • Patient Education Programme - Brochure

    More PDF

  • Driving and Strong Medications for Pain Control

    If you drive you may be concerned about safety. Please read this carefully, it will help you to decide.… More PDF


Parking can be challenging.  Limited outpatient parking is available in the carpark underneath the Oncology building accessed from Cumberland St.  Please leave an indication of your appointment on the dashboard. It is advisable to allow plenty of time before your appointment to find a carpark.  All the hospital entrances do have a drop off zone where patients with limited mobility can be dropped off while their driver finds a parking space.

Contact Details

Dunedin Hospital

Dunedin - South Otago

Pain Service Secretary (03) 470 9833
Booking Secretary (03) 470 9240

201 Great King St

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Street Address

201 Great King St

Postal Address

Private Bag 1921
Dunedin 9054

This page was last updated at 2:19PM on June 30, 2021. This information is reviewed and edited by Southern DHB Persistent Pain Service.