Brussels, 12/12 /2014-Patients and citizens send recommendations to the new European Parliament and the new European Commission
Patients (Pain Alliance Europe, PAE) and citizens (Active Citizenship Network, ACN) call for urgent action for chronic pain management at a national and EU level urging policy makers to:
- Prioritize chronic pain at an EU level
- Increase public awareness of chronic pain
- Educate healthcare professionals at undergraduate and graduate level about chronic pain management
- Stimulate research and data collection by continuing chronic pain research
Patients’ associations have done a lot to improve the situation for chronic pain patients and empower them, but there is still a lack of interest from the healthcare society in general and institutions in particular. Only two notable legislative measures have become reality in two EU countries: Italy and Ireland. Italy was the first country in Europe to adopt a law in 2010 which defines pain therapy as a set of diagnostic and therapeutic initiatives intended to control and suppress moderate to severe chronic pain. Also, chronic pain has been identified as medical specialty this year (2014) in Ireland.
In 2014, more than ever, with Italy holding the presidency of the EU Council, it was time to bring this initiative at an EU level. Due to our recommendations and the letters sent by our members to their national ministries and at the EU level institutional bodies, ministers from the 28 EU member states met in Milan on the 22-23 of September and reached a common position. They recognized a need to create a European network ensuring training of professionals in the sector and to exchange information on the effectiveness of pain therapies for the weakest population groups. Chronic Pain is now a priority in the EU as a whole.
MORE INFORMATION ON THE ACTIVITY OF PAE AND ACN
Pain Patients Pathway Recommendations (PPPR) PROJECT
Pain Alliance Europe and Active Citizenship Network with the support of Grünenthal GmbH worked together in order to become a strong European Pain Patient advocacy group. They have developed concrete proposals for the improvement of pain management in the EU and encourage active participation of citizens in public policy-making. The result of this work was presented to ministries of health and to many EU bodies in a report called the “Pain Patient Pathway Recommendations”. Please find here a video describing the activity carried out by our organizations in the past three years and also here our joint recommendations.
The first step of the joint project was to conduct a civic survey on chronic pain in order to find out if the rights of chronic pain patients are respected in Europe. 37 associations from 18 countries participated in the survey. The survey clearly showed that despite the efforts at regional, national and European level, the condition of patients affected by chronic pain is still serious. Only in France, Portugal, Malta, Sweden the rights of these patients were partially respected, with the other countries having hardly any rights respected, if at all: UK, Italy, Germany, Austria, Latvia, The Netherlands, Bulgaria, Romania, Spain, Slovenia, Romania, Cyprus, Belgium, Finland and non-EU country, Macedonia. Based on the findings of the survey, we have created a set of recommendations which were sent by our members to all relevant institutional bodies.
Chronic Pain in Europe
Around 100 million people, approx. 19% of the adult population in Europe is suffering from chronic pain. This number clearly shows that the reality of chronic pain cannot be ignored at an EU level anymore. Chronic pain is not just a medical problem. It is an even bigger social and economic burden for society at whole: lost working days because of insufficient or non-treatment, reduced working capacity, social benefits, disability payments, etc. That’s the reason why we are also pushing the identification of chronic pain as a disease in its own right or at least as a medical specialty.
Objectives for 2015
For 2015, our mission and main objective is to push the new EU Parliament, the new EU Commission, and the Institutions at National and EU level to give a concrete follow up on their commitment made during the EU Health Ministers meeting in Milan, Italy, last 22-23 September. Without concrete solutions and legislation, there is no real progress and this important economic and societal problem will find no resolution.
Active Citizenship Network (ACN) is a flexible network of European civic organizations which are involved as partners in its different projects, addressed to encourage active participation of citizens in European policy-making. ACN’s mission is to promote and support the construction of the European citizenship as an “active citizenship” which means the exercise of citizens’ powers and responsibilities in policy-making.
For Pain Alliance Europe (PAE), quality of life for a chronic pain patient means giving the patient the right to choose the best possible solutions and support to live his life according to his possibilities and wishes. The organization aims to promote awareness for chronic pain, to European society on all areas.
In the name of transparency, please find below the responsibilities of each partner of the project: The political framework of the project is designed by Pain Alliance Europe representing chronic pain patients in Europe. Active Citizenship Network is responsible for the scientific design and contents. The pharmaceutical company Grünenthal GmbH is responsible for financial and non-financial support.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT US AT:
Pain Alliance Europe
Grensstraat 7, box 3 – 1831 Diegem (Brussels) – Belgium
Cittadinanzattiva onlus – Active Citizenship Network
via Cereate, 6 – 00183 Roma , Italy