Queensland Interdisciplinary Paediatric Persistent Pain Service

The Queensland Interdisciplinary Paediatric Persistent Pain Service (QIPPPS) provides assessment and management services for young people experiencing persistent pain with a sociopsychobiomedical interdisciplinary approach, with presentations including:

  • widespread musculoskeletal pain (including joint pain)
  • back pain
  • upper or lower limb pain
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • pain at multiple locations
  • headaches
  • abdominal pain
  • neuropathic pain
  • nociplastic pain.

Our interdisciplinary team consists of medical staff, including Pain Specialists, Psychiatry and a Nurse Practitioner, Psychology, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Music Therapy.

As a statewide service we support children and young people experiencing persistent pain, and their families to confidently connect with life one step at a time. The Queensland Interdisciplinary Paediatric Persistent Pain Service lead in delivering, and advocating for, evidence based persistent pain services for children and young people, and their families throughout Queensland. As an interdisciplinary team, we achieve this through four strategies: People and Teamwork, Innovation, Partnerships and Quality.

Pain is generated by our brain and is a part of the body’s alarm system. Pain is designed to protect us when our body is in danger. In persistent pain however, this alarm system (the nervous system, or brain and spinal cord) has become sensitised or overprotective. When this occurs even sensory information from our body or environment that is not physically harmful can be processed by our nervous system as danger signals and lead to the symptom and experience of pain. Persistent pain does not have one single cause. Multiple factors can influence our nervous system and contribute to persistent pain. The Queensland Interdisciplinary Paediatric Persistent Pain Service assesses a person’s pain,  and other factors in an individual’s life including their engagement and participation in school and education, play and physical activity, sleep, relationships with family and other people, and mental health and wellbeing. These whole of life factors can all contribute to and be affected by persistent pain. Recovery involves understanding pain and addressing the psychological, social, occupational and biomedical factors related to an individual’s persistent pain.

Who can access this service?

New patients

Referrals are accepted up to a child or young person’s 18th birthday, or for any young person enrolled in school. Young Adult referrals are considered on a case by case basis.

Existing CHQ patients with complex care needs

Referrals are accepted up to a child’s 18th birthday (patients are usually transitioned to adult services by this time).

Catchment area

This service is available to children living in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

For patients living remote to the Queensland Children’s Hospital, linked collaboration with local services is often integral to their pain management. Telehealth can be used to liaise with patients, families and local services.

Do I need a referral?

You will need a formal referral to access this service.

How do I get a referral?

Referral to the Queensland Interdisciplinary Paediatric Persistent Pain Service must be made by a medical officer, and completion of the investigative process to rule out or establish the biomedical drivers of a patient’s persistent pain is preferred.

Other referral information

Patients will be informed 4-6 weeks in advance of their appointment.

We encourage parents/carers to attend the initial appointment and bring copies of all previous investigations and reports relating to their child’s condition.

Information for health professionals

From 1 May 2019 referral criteria will apply at CHQ. This condition has minimum demographic and essential clinical referral information that is required to be included prior to submission of the referral. Visit the CPC website for the required condition. If you are unable to provide the required “essential information” please state the reason when you submit the referral.

Referral instructions

A specialist or GP referral is required to access this service. All referrals should be completed on the Queensland Interdisciplinary Paediatric Persistent Pain Service referral template.

Referring doctors should ask parents/carers to attend the initial appointment and bring copies of all previous investigations and reports. Patients will be informed 4-6 weeks in advance of their appointment. Further details regarding the referral process can be obtained by contacting us.
t: 07 3068 4499
e: QCH-persistentpain@health.qld.gov.au

Supporting information

Our team

Clinical Lead

Dr Mark Alcock MBBS, FANZCA, FFPMANZCA

Senior Medical Officer

Dr Kevin McCarthy MB BCh BAO PhD FCARCSI FFPMCAI

Allied Health Team Leader

Joanne Theodoros

This service is available at

Rehabilitation Day Unit (6e)
Queensland Children’s Hospital

Level 6
501 Stanley Street
South Brisbane
QLD 4101
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General Medicine (2e)
Queensland Children’s Hospital

Level 2
501 Stanley Street
South Brisbane
QLD 4101
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Medical (3c)
Queensland Children’s Hospital

Level 3
501 Stanley Street
South Brisbane
QLD 4101
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Allied Health (6a)
Queensland Children’s Hospital

Level 6
501 Stanley Street
South Brisbane
QLD 4101
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Contact details

t: 07 3068 4499
e: QCH-persistentpain@health.qld.gov.au

If an individual practitioner cannot be reached, a message can be left, and will usually be responded to within 3-5 working days.

Operating hours

Monday to Thursday, 8am–4pm.