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About the Service

Service History and Philosophy


A co-ordinated approach to pain management in the public hospital system in Newcastle began with the establishment of the Acute Pain Service at John Hunter Hospital in 1993. The main focus was treatment of pain related to surgery and trauma. However, it soon became apparent that there was a need to expand the scope of the service to address other types of pain.

Hunter Integrated Pain Service (HIPS) was set up in 1997 to provide multidisciplinary care to people with chronic non-cancer and cancer pain. HIPS multidisciplinary team was based at Royal Newcastle Hospital and the major focus was chronic non-cancer pain. A procedural service for cancer pain was set up in collaboration with the Palliative Care team at Newcastle Calvary Mater Hospital. Collaboration with the Acute Pain Service continued following the establishment of John Hunter Hospital in 1991. The focus was on provision of early intervention in high-risk groups to reduce progression to chronic pain.

From 1997 until early 2006, HIPS provided services to John Hunter Hospital and Newcastle Calvary Mater Hospitals from the Royal Newcastle Hospital base. In April 2006, HIPS moved with many other Royal Newcastle Hospital services to the John Hunter Hospital.

Since 2006, HIPS has seen significant service growth and development of the model of care.  Group assessment and treatment has been prioritised. HIPS is an accredited level 1 Pain medicine training site with the Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists.


Hunter Integrated Pain Service (HIPS) aims to support people with chronic (long term) non-cancer pain. The multidisciplinary team at HIPS use an evidence-informed, whole person approach to help patients understand more about pain and develop their own recovery plan. The whole person approach focuses on five key areas (shown below) and involves reducing reliance on medications and medical treatments and switching to more effective active strategies.

The Team

The HIPS team includes clerical, nursing, physiotherapy and psychology staff, along with doctors from anaesthesia, liaison psychiatry and pain medicine.

Partners and Collaborations

The Acute Pain Service at John Hunter Hospital is linked to HIPS and manages post-operative and post-trauma pain.

HIPS works collaboratively with the John Hunter Hospital's Complex Children's Pain Team and Drug and Alcohol Clinical Services (DACS). HIPS also works in collaboration with the Palliative Care team at the Newcastle Calvary Mater Hospital.

HIPS has a strategic focus on research and partners with the University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI).

Referral Process

HIPS provides a referral service for the Hunter New England region and information regarding this is best accessed via HNE HealthPathways. HIPS requires a Medical Referral from GP or Specialist. Referrals could also be faxed to 02 4922 3893.

Contact us

Hunter Integrated Pain Service
Locked Bag 1, Hunter Region Mail Centre, 2310
Telephone:  02 4922 3435
Fax:  02 4985 5045
Referrals Fax: 02 4922 3893
Email:  HNELHD-HIPS@health.nsw.gov.au

Hunter Integrated Pain Service office hours are between 8am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. We are closed public holidays. Please note that your call or email will not be responded to outside of these hours. If you require emergency or crisis support, there is help available. You can present to your nearest emergency department, contact the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.