Valletta, Malta, June 9, 2017
The 7th annual Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) symposium, which took place on June 8th and 9th, saw clear policy recommendations formulated to change pain care in the European Union for the better and alleviate the effect of pain on society. Martin Seychell, Deputy Director General in the Health and Food Safety’s Directorate, announced in a speech that the European Commission is following SIP’s lead and has launched the EU Health Policy Platform to build a bridge between health systems and policy makers. Among other health policy areas, the societal impact of pain is included as well and will have a dedicated expert group.
Ultimately, the expert group that is to be composed will be an instrument that enhances best practice sharing across EU member states, in coordination with the Commission. Once fully functioning, public health groups in all areas, employers’ organizations, insurers, economists and even digital stakeholders are to be involved. The EU Health Policy Platform operates in two ways: online discussions and collaboration as well as face-to-face meetings to host targeted thematic discussions.
The platform the European Commission has launched contributes to the objectives SIP is pursuing and formulates in its policy recommendations. On day one of the symposium, four working groups worked out individual suggestions targeting the issues discussed. These were presented during the plenary today:
- Establish an EU platform on the societal impact of pain
- Develop instruments to assess the societal impact of pain
- Initiate policies addressing the impact of pain on employment
- Prioritise pain within education for health care professionals, patients and the general public
- Increase investment in research on the Societal Impact of Pain
“In the long-term, the European Commission’s initiative could positively address some of the recommendations presented during the SIP symposium, and reflect the Maltese Presidency’s goal of structured cooperation between healthcare systems. It is a huge step forward for our efforts and patients throughout Europe,” said a delighted Bart Morlion, President elect, European Pain Federation EFIC, who is responsible for the scientific framework of SIP.
This year’s symposium was attended by more than 300 participants, including healthcare professionals, pain advocacy groups, researchers and specialists in the field of pain as well as insurers, budget holders and European politicians.
EFNA was represented at the symposium by Executive Director, Donna Walsh and EU Senior Policy Officer, Heather Clarke, both of whom and participated in workshops to draft policy recommendations. Ms Walsh also hosted the plenary session on the Friday, while Ms Clarke manned the MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind and Pain stand.