Pain to be main focus in health policy

Huge suffering, enormous costs - national pain plan needed!

Berlin, 27 august. On occasion of the current response by the German Gederal Goverment to the "small question" by SPD-federal opposition with regard to the management of chronic pain patient ("Versorgungslage chronisch schmerzkranker Menschen" (vgl. BT-DRs. 17/14357), the German Pain Society (Deutsche Schmerzgesellschaft, SIP Endorser 2011-2013) demands the Federal Government and the federal states to develop a national action plan against pain during the upcoming legislative period.

Read the full German press release.

Parliament's Motion for a Resolution in Austria

Motion for a resolution for improved chronic pain management unanimously accepted by Austrian Parliament

On 27 June, a motion for a resolution to improve the situation of chronic pain patients in Austria was officially and unanimously accepted by the health committee of the Austrian parliament. With this motion, the parliament calls on the Austrian government to act and to initiate change for multi-professional and integrative care of chronic pain patients in Austria.

Excerpt from original motion for a resolution (german):
„Der Bundesminister für Gesundheit wird aufgefordert umgehend Initiativen zu ergreifen zu setzen, um die Situation der Schmerzpatienten in Österreich zu verbessern, dass eine multiprofessionelle und integrative Versorgung auf allen Versorgungsebenen sichergestellt ist. Weiters soll der „chronische Schmerz“ auf die Agenda der Bundeszielsteuerungskommission aufgenommen werden.“

Here you can find the official motion for a resolution on the AT parliament website (BZÖ-Antrag ( 2327/A[E]).

New publication: Challenges of pain management in primary care

The challenges of pain management in primary care: a pan-European survey

The new article on "The challenges of pain management in primary care: a pan-European survey" by Martin Johnson, Beverly Collett, José M Castro-Lopes was published in Dove Press journal "Journal of Pain Research" on 21 May 2013.

Objective of the survey, which was conducted, was to "assess the challenges of chronic nonmalignant pain (CNMP) management in primary care in Europe, focusing particularly on pain assessment, opioid therapy, and educational needs.

Here you can find the original publication online (external link).

Ireland: Pain Medicine to be recognised as medical specialty

Medical Council to commence consultation

The Medical Council today (9May 2013) launched a programme of consultation to recognise Pain Medicine as a separate medical specialty.

Recognition of specialties leads to the establishment of new specialist categories within the Medical Council’s Register of Medical Practitioners. It enables doctors to pursue specialist training and registration in the specialty which best suits their qualifications and practice and is a further safeguard to ensure the ongoing safety of patients.

The Council currently recognises 52 specialties under the Medical Practitioners Act 2007. The criteria applied by the Medical Council in its specialty recognition processes are in line with international best practice in this area, and public consultation is an important element of this process.   

Speaking today, Medical Council President, Professor Kieran Murphy said: “The recognition of medical specialties is an important element of the Council’s work in the areas of education, training and registration.  All interested parties have the opportunity to inform the Council’s decision-making in this area, as feedback relating to the application for recognition of Pain Medicine will be fully considered before Council makes its final decision.”

Full details of the recognition process along with the relevant application documents and feedback forms can be found at http://www.medicalcouncil.ie/.  The deadline for receipt of feedback submissions is close of business on Friday, 24th May 2013.

ENDS.

Editor’s Notes.

1.    Information on ‘Pain Medicine’ can be found on http://www.medicalcouncil.ie/
2.    The process for recognition for medical specialties is a two stage process:

Stage One of the recognition process is an initial evaluation of an application for recognition as a specialty.  Stage Two involves a public consultation  as well as a detailed evaluation by assessors from inside and outside the State who have the necessary knowledge of the area of the aspirant specialty.  If Stage Two is successfully completed, the Council will seek Ministerial consent to its decision before recognition is finally determined

For further information:
Lorna Farren
Medical Council Communications Manager
lfarren@mcirl.ie
01
498 3173/ 087 913 0288

Survey on Chronic Pain Treatments

Results show that treatments across Europe are failing sufferers

The Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE:BSX) sponsored a survey under more than 1,000 chronic pain sufferers across Europe. The survey called "The Painful Truth Survey: The State of Pain Management in Europe" was supported by three organizations; Action in Pain UK, the Spanish Pain Association (EFHRE Sine Dolore) and the German Pain League (Deutsche Schmerzliga). Key results of this survey are that millions of patients continue to suffer on a daily basis, even after trying several treatment options. More than a third of sufferers still struggle with daily tasts affecting their work, personal lives, relationships and the ability to care for their children.

In Europe, chronic pain is one of the most common conditions for which people seek medical attention. About a third of sufferers indicate their chronic pain has lowered their household income by about 31% (averaging €5,000 annually), chronic pain costs the European healthcare system €300 billion a year. An estimated 90% of this can be attributed to indirect costs such as lost productivity, social security and welfare payments.

The organizations involved with the Painful Truth Survey call for governments in Europe to develop national plans for chronic pain management that go beyond the traditional diagnosis and treatment routes. Another point of improvement is better access to innovative treatment options that may not only benefit patients, but also health economies through demonstrated cost effectiveness.

For more information on the opinions of the three supporting organizations on the results of this survey, please have a look into the official article.

UK: Publication of National Pain Audit Report

UK National Pain Audit Report: Patient with long-term pain experience have a very low overal quality of life

A British Pain Society and Dr Foster Intelligence joint Audit finds that many pain services make a substantial difference to patients whose quality of life is extremely poor with high reliance on emergency care.

The first ever National Pain Audit, carried out by the British Pain Society and Dr Foster Intelligence, was used to measure the availability and activity of NHS specialist centres for the diagnosis and management of complex chronic pain disorders in England and Wales. This three-year study was commissioned by the Health Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) in September 2009 in response to the Chief Medical Officer’s report of 2008: ‘Pain: Breaking Through the Barrier’ which expressed concern that the needs of people with chronic pain were being poorly served by the NHS and wider society.

The Final Report was officially launched at an evening reception held on 17th December 2012,  at the Science Museum within the Pain Less Exhibition.  

Here you can find the official BPS Press Release (British Pain Society).
The full National Pain Audit Report you can find on the BPS Website.    

Basis for Austrian “Road Map for Action” established

tl_files/redakteur-bereich/National Initiatives/AT/AUS_PressRelease_RoadMapForAction.jpgOn 12 December 2012, an expert panel discussion on "Chronic pain as a major cause of absenteeism and early retirement" took place in Vienna. Besides Federal Minister Hundstorfer, many different experts in the fields of Politics, medicine, nursing, economics and pharmaceutical industries participated. 

The aim of the discussion group was to form the basis for an Austrian "Road Map for Action" in whom recommendations for the optimization and advancement of chronic Pain Patients’ supply are to be formulated and addressed to the policy. There already exists such a “Road Map for Action” on European level.
Here you can find the European “Road Map for Action”

Please read here the original Austrian Press Release on “Chronic pain as a major cause of absenteeism and early retirement” (GER).

Danish Government funds 67 million DKK for pain management

On 25 October the Danish Government published the distribution of future public fundings in the health care sector:  67  million DKK (9 million €) have been earmarked for the pain area between 2013-2016. Following this period, additional 15 million will be put aside each year.

The political parties allocating the budgets have agreed on raising the bar of the pain area in order to ensure better and more effective treatment. In this way one expects better pain treatment at an earlier stage. The government’s decision is expected to prevent the often seen worsening – or even “chronification” - of the pain conditions and - consequently - the persistent need for pain medications. 

More specifically, the ring-fenced money will be used for additional education of GPs raising their qualifications in the pain therapy area. Moreover, the money will be spend on raising the capacity of multi-disciplinary pain clinics and thus reduce waiting time. The cooperation between GPs and pain clinics will also be addressed.

The official press release (Danish) you can find on the Government website.
The final agreement (Danish) you can find here.

"Nurses fighting against Pain"

"Pain Nurses" - A new profession struggling against painZDF_Report_Pain_Nurses

On the 24 October 2012 the German TV station “ZDF” broadcasted a segment on “Nurses fighting against Pain”, a healthcare project that was initiated in 2010. This report dealt with the improvement of pain management in German Hospitals. In order to enhance the treatment of patients who suffer from severe or acute pain, e.g. after a surgery, a totally new profession was created in Münster, Germany, the so called “Pain Nurses”.

The segment is about one of the new skilled Nurses, Martina Rettig. By her example the benefits of a Pain Nurse are described:  alleviate acute pain and thereby prevent pain of becoming chronic. According to her opinion an improved pain management is only possible if doctors, physiotherapists and nurses exchange their experiences mutually.

Prof. Jürgen Osterbrink consents with her point of view and states that “Origin and outset of our effort is to prevent acute pain from proceeding into chronic pain. This is only possible through a convenient interaction of doctors, nurses and the patients themselves.”

Another benefit of this new treatment is that healthcare costs decrease because patients recover sooner and therefore regain a higher quality of life.

Meanwhile, all hospitals employ “Pain Nurses" and several cities intend to optimize their pain management according to this model.

In case you would like to read the full english transcription, please click the previouis link.
If you'd like to see the full German TV Report of the "ZDF heute" click the previous link: 

Pain medicine as a specialty in its own right

Pain medicine recognition great news for those in pain

Up to one in five New Zealanders estimated to suffer from chronic pain will be the big winners of a Medical Council of New Zealand decision to recognise pain medicine as a specialty in its own right, say pain medicine specialists.

The Medical Council has accredited pain medicine as a scope of practice In New Zealand, giving formal recognition to this medical specialty and its associated qualification. The new scope and qualification come into effect on December 3 this year. The accreditation follows a lengthy application process undertaken by the Faculty of Pain Medicine (FPM) of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists.

Read here the FPM full Media Release

Chronic Pain becomes Priority in Spain

On 16th October the Spanish Ministry of Health has published its Strategy for addressing Chronic Diseases (“Estrategia para el Abordaje de la Cronicidad en el Sistema Nacional de Salud”).

The concept had been previously approved by the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System (“Consejo Interterritorial del Sistema Nacional de Salud”) on 27 June 2012.

Aim of the new strategy is to set goals and recommendations that will effectively manage health service deliveries to improve population’s health and its determinants, strengthen prevention of health conditions and reduce limitations in chronic and comprehensive care. The concept describes four main pillars on which the strategy for chronicity is based on:

  • Stratification of Patients
  • Quality indicators in Health Care
  • National network of schools for patients
  • Improvement of the chronic pain approach


The Strategy was presented at the Ministry of Health in a event opened by Ms. Pilar Farjas (General Secretary for Health), and moderated by Ms. Mercedes Vinuesa (General Director of Public Health and Quality at the MoH) and Ms. Sonia García San José (Deputy Director of Quality and Cohesion at the MoH).

Please read here the full Estrategia para el Abordaje de la Cronicidad.

Cancer Pain Guidelines now published!

New Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Cancer Pain

The ESMO (European Society for Medical Oncology) has now published new clinical practice guidelines for the mangement of cancer pain in form of a supplement from the "Annals of Oncology". The supplement deals with the incidence of pain, principles of pain management and how to treat pain in its different levels from mild-pain up to severe-/ chronic-caner Pain.

The full article can be read at http://annonc.oxfordjournals.org/content/23/suppl_7/vii139.full.

EU Commission FP7 2013 work programme published

Submission for pain research projects now open

The EU Commission has now published its Framework Programme 7 (FP7) 2013 work programme with the aim to improve the health of European citizens and increase the competitiveness and boosting the innovative capacity of European health-related industries and businesses while addressing global health issues including emerging epidemics. 

Amongst others a specific topic dedicated to the research on pain was included: 

"HEALTH.2013.2.2.1-5: Understanding and controlling pain". 

The programme identifies the areas / topics where projects can now be submitted. The requested EU contribution per project shall not exceed EUR 6 000 000. The proposed project duration indicated in the proposal shall not exceed 3 years.

Deadline for submission is 2 October 2012 at 17.00 CET. 

Here you get to the final FP7 2013 health work programme

EP Written Question on migraine answered by EU Commissioner

Raising awareness on migraine, assuring research funding and recognition as disability

The Written Question on "Migraine in the EU" tabled by Liam Aylward (ALDE, IE) has now been answered by EU Commissioner. 

The EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection John Dalli replied to the Written Question on ‘Migraine in the EU’ tabled by Liam Aylward (ALDE, IE). Mr Aylward asked to the Commission about its plans to raise awareness on migraine, assure research funding and whether it plans to recognise migraine as a disability.

In his reply, Commissioner Dalli notes that the Commission is aware that migraines and headaches have a significant impact on the social and professional life of affected people. He stresses that funding for research were allocated under the EU Health Programme and the Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7). However, the Commission is not planning to make funding available for awareness raising programmes, nor for specific activities to improve the treatment and quality of life for those affected by migraine.

The Commissioner also notes that the definition for person with disability agreed under the Commission's Disability Strategy 2010-2020 may apply to patients affected by chronic migraine. However, recognition of chronic migraine as a disability for the purposes of receiving protection or social and employment benefits is a matter of national competence.

Here you can find the full Written Qeustion and Answer.

NICE releases new pain relief guidelines

Many patients with advanced cancer and other debilitating conditions are being "under-treated" for their pain, the guidance from NICE says.

NICE - the National Institute for Clinical Excellence - wants doctors in England and Wales to make more use of morphine and other strong opioids - the only adequate pain relief source for many patients.The guideline recommends doctors discuss patients' concerns (which may include addiction, tolerance, side-effects and fears that treatment implies the final stage of life) and deals with five opioids: morphine, diamorphine (heroin), buprenorphine, fentanyl and oxycodone. The aim is to improve both pain management and patient safety.

NICE  says "misinterpretations and misunderstanding" have surrounded the use of strong opioids for decades, which has resulted in errors "causing under-dosing and avoidable pain, or overdosing and distressing adverse effects".

Mike Bennett, St Gemma's professor of palliative medicine at the University of Leeds, said: "Almost half of patients with advanced cancer are under-treated for their pain, largely because clinicians are reluctant to use strong opioids." In a summary of the guidance in the British Medical Journal, he said doctors should address patients' concerns and reassure them that addiction is "very rare".

Please read here the full detailed article on the BBC Website.

Austrian MP Grünewald requests improvement of Pain Management for Austrian population

Rejection by the Health Committee of the Austrian Parliament

Austrian MP Dr. Kurt Grünewald requested improvement of pain management for the Austrian population (1888/A(E)). On the 20th of June 2012 his proposal regarding improvement of pain management was rejected by the Health Committee of the Austrian Parliament due to lack of support by the Social Democratic Party Austria and the Austrian People´s Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs SPÖ and the Österreichische Volkspartei ÖVP). Please find here the proposal (German or English translation).

Please read here the detailed original article on the official website of the Austrian Republik Parliament.

EP Written Question on migraines tabled by Liam Aylward

Migraine in the European Union

On the 22nd of May Liam Aylward (ALDE, UK) tabled a EP Written Question on migraines. He asks about improvements to treatment and quality of life, promotion in investment into research, awareness to reduce costs and protection under employment and disability laws.

Questions for written answer E-005199/2012 to the Commission
Rule 117
Liam Aylward (ALDE Alliance for Liberals and Democrats Europe)

Migraine is a neurological brain disorder, classified by the World Health Organisation as the 19th leading cause of disability worldwide and the 12th leading cause of disability amongst women. According to the WHO, a person suffering from a severe migraine attack is as incapacitated as a patient suffering from quadriplegia, and more incapacitated than a blind person. Migraine can be a chronic, debilitating and disabling disease with significant associated socio-economic effects, such as absenteeism and social exclusion: its overall cost to Europe is some EUR 43.5 billion.

  •  What measures is the Commission taking to promote resources and services that improve the treatment and quality of life of those affected by migraine?
  • Does the Commission plan to make further funding available to promote investment in research into the causes of migraine and headache, and the development of new medications?
  • Medication overuse for headache disorders costs on average EUR 2 291 per person affected each year. Does the Commission plan to make funding available for the promotion of awareness of this problem, so that such costs can be reduced?
  • Can the Commission clarify whether it plans to recognise migraine as a disability and ensure that those affected receive equal protection under national and European disability and employment laws?

Please find here the original message.

Pain medication: Patients wait up to 8 years to receive treatment

Publication of White Book on Pain Medicine

Berlin – "There is a high degree of pain therapeutic under- and mismanagement", criticizes the "Berufsverband der Ärzte und Psychologischen Psychotherapeuten in der Schmerz- und Palliativmedizin in Deutschland (BVSD). Hereby the association refers to a medical research on the quality of the health care for chronic pain patients. The association has now published the results in a so called "White Book on Pain Medicine".

According to the study, the time between the first symptoms of a chronic pain disease and the beginning of receiving qualified pain therapeutic measures in the federal state Sachsen-Anhalt, can take up to eight years, followed by Bremen (6.5 years), Berlin (5 years) and Saarland (4.8 years). Pain patients in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern have to wait for the shortest period, which is 2.2 years. Brandenburg has the second place (3 years), followed by Niedersachsen (3.1 years).

"About 2 million pain patients are roaming through our healthcare system and receive an adequate treatment only after a long period of time", the BVSD Chairman Joachim Nadstawek explained.

He criticized that bad conditions for pain patients worsened the situation for the patients. In the research 25% of the patients which were surveyed mentioned that their fees have decreased with 30% since 2008. For 17% of the surveyors, the fees had risen. "Due to economic reasons, many physicians feel that they are not able anymore to work actively as a pain therapist", Nadstawek concludes.

Please find here the original article on deutscheärzteblatt.de (German).

Northern Ireland Pain Summit Conference 15 May

Northern Ireland Health Minister Edwin Poots acknowledges the importance of health professionals working together to improve services for those living with chronic pain

"Tuesday, 15 May 2012 - Health Minister Edwin Poots, was speaking at the Northern Ireland Pain Summit in the Stormont Hotel in Belfast. He said: “Northern Ireland is reported as having the highest prevalence of chronic pain in the UK with almost one in five people suffering. It is the main contributor to the annual cost of medically related benefits and long-term sick leave in Northern Ireland." 

 Please find online here the full press release.

The Pain Summit has also been covered by the BBC website, which notes the recent evidence showing "that the level of treatment and care for patients with chronic pain varies widely across the five health and social care trusts (HSC)."  It describes plans for a roadmap for pain services in Northern Ireland. Please find here the full article. 

Furthermore an article can be found in “The Belfast Telegraph”. 
An additional article can be found in the "Londonderry Sentinal".  

Examination in pain medicine will be mandatory in Germany

Pain Medicine will be mandatory examination subject ("Schmerzmedizin wird Pflichtfach")

Examination in pain medicine will be mandatory in Germany for all aspiring doctors. The German Federal Council announced this on Friday 11 May by giving the green light for this change in the medical licensing regulations which will be supplemented by cross-sectional area 14. 

"This change is for us and especially for those affected by pain patients is a very good news," says Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Koppert, president of the German Pain Society. "It is the result of a sustained effort over many years of the German Pain Society to anchor pain medicine in the study". 

This achievement supports "SIP roadmap for action" step 4.

Please find here the German press release.

Northern Ireland Assembly Meeting

Discusses the Roadmap for Action on Pain

On the 1st of May, the Northern Ireland Assembly event with Jim Wells (Deputy Chairman, Northern Ireland Assembly Committee on Health Services and Public Health) & Vice Chair of the Health Committee and Dr. Pamela Bell (Chair of Pain Alliance Northern Ireland) took place.

Jim Wells, the incoming Health Minister was hosting the event and Edwin Poots, the current Health Minister was also attending addition to the leader of the Ulster Unionist party and 15 other Members of Local Assembly who all signed up to the Roadmap for Action on Pain for Northern Ireland.

During the event, the BBC Radio Foyle interview also took place (please click on image below). The interview was held by Mark Patterson with Jim Wells and Dr. Pamela Bell. 

BBC Radio Foyle Interview

Declaration of Miami: Sign now!

Global Pain Physicians, Families and Officials: Sign the Declaration of Miami

MIAMI BEACH, FL, USA  – Leaders of four of the world’s preeminent medical societies devoted to pain medicine – World Institute of Pain (WIP), European Federation of IASP® Chapters (EFIC®), World Society of Pain Clinicians (WSPC), and World Institute of Pain Foundation (WIP Foundation) convened February 5, 2012 at the Miami Beach Convention Center to affirm their commitments to joining forces for the advancement of pain treatment and promotion of pain medicine throughout the world. 

Presently, there is still limited access to adequate treatment of acute and chronic pain in many parts of the world. Governments and even healthcare professionals are not sufficiently aware of chronic pain as a health problem. Many healthcare professionals are not educated and familiar with best practice pain medicine. It is the right of any human individual to have easy access to adequate pain management. There is a need for generally available information about proper options for pain relief and it is the obligation of governments and healthcare systems to provide financial, personnel, and structural resources to achieve these goals and to guarantee adequate pain management as a human right.

More information at: https://www.change.org/petitions/global-pain-physicians-families-and-officials-sign-the-declaration-of-miami

Northern Ireland Asembly Questions on chronic pain answered

Questions on work absenteeism and Quality 2020 strategy

Two of Mark H Durkan MLA’s Northern Ireland Assembly Questions on chronic pain have now been answered:  

Regarding the first question on work absenteeism, the response notes that due to the way data are collected regarding sickness absence, no information specific to chronic pain is available.  This appears to be due to the fact it is classified as a symptom rather than a condition. 

The second question on the recently-announced Quality 2020 strategy elicited a commitment from health minister Edwin Poots to pass on the suggestion that chronic pain is included as an outcome in the strategy.  The plan for the strategy is due in June so we will keep you updated as to its contents.

The questions are online here: http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/Documents/Answer-Book/2012/120420.pdf

 

Mr Durkan asked the Minister for Social Development (i) for his assessment of the correlation between chronic pain and absenteeism from employment; and (ii) for an estimate of how many working days per annum are lost within his Department as a result of chronic pain. (AQW 10322/11-15)

Mr McCausland: Sickness absence in the NICS, including the Department for Social Development, is recorded using codes from the Sickness Absence Recording Tool (SART). Chronic pain may be a symptom of many conditions and is not recognised as a separate category within SART, therefore it is not possible to comment on any possible correlation between chronic pain and absenteeism from employment in the NICS. For that reason it is also impossible to estimate the number of working days per annum lost within my Department as a result of chronic pain.

Mr Durkan asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, in light of the publication of the Quality 2020 Strategy, what consideration he has given to including pain management in the proposed national outcome measures for health services.

(AQW 10323/11-15)

Mr Poots: An implementation plan is nearing completion for the Quality 2020 Strategy launched by me last November. I would expect this to be published before June of this year.

One of the 5 work-streams in this plan will concentrate on improving quality outcome measurement and the reporting on safety, effectiveness and the patient/ client experience in health and social care services. While some detailed elements of individual initiatives in the plan have yet to be finalised, I will ensure that the honourable Member’s suggestion will be passed to the relevant project team in due course.

EGG 2012: Call for Applications by young pain researchers

tl_files/redakteur-bereich/News/Global Pain News/EFIC-GRU.JPG

EFIC - Grünenthal Grant 2012: Application hotline now open!

The European Federation of IASP Chapters (EFIC) is proud to announce: Young scientists may now apply for a research grant for clinical and experimental pain research totalling up to € 200,000 from Grünenthal GmbH supporting them in their early career to carry out innovative clinical pain research in any member country of EFIC (see www.efic.org). 

Individual research grants are valued at up to € 40,000 per project for a duration of up to two years. The decision of the awards is made independently by the EFIC® Committee on Research.

More information is available in the EGG 2012 Announcement flyer
More information also available at www.e-g-g.info

 

Northern Ireland Parliamentary Questions on Pain Management answered

Tabled by Mr. Mark Durhan

Mr. Mark Durham is from the Social Democratic and Labour Party in the Northern Ireland Assembly. Several Parliamentary Questions that were tabled by him have now been answered. The questions and the answers can be read below.

Question AQW 10133/11-15 tabled on 27-3: To ask the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety what steps he intends to take to improve education and traning for healthcare professionals in pain management.

Answer:
Specific training in pain management in undergraduate and postgraduate education programmes is carried out across the range of healthcare professions. The training provided is subject to regular review and updated as necessary in line with emerging technologies.

Question AQW 9898/11-15 tabled on 21-3: To ask the Minister for Social Development how many people are currently in receipt of Disability Living Allowance because they suffer from chronic pain.

Answer:
The information requested is not held by my Department. Entitlement to Disability Living Allowance is not based on a medical condition or illness but assessment of how much help someone needs with personal care and/or mobility needs because of their disability.

Question AQW 9900/11-15 tabled on 21-3: To ask the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for his assessment of the sustained increase in the number of hospital admissions for pain management in the last ten years.

Answer:
A number of specialist pain management clinics are provided by the HSC Trusts and GPs can refer patients to these clinics where they feel that their current pain management treatment is proving ineffective.
“Transforming Your Care” the report of the HSC Review, acknowledges the increasing prevalence of long term conditions in Northern Ireland such as chronic pain and sets out a series of proposals for improving services, including partnership working with patients to enable greater self-care and prevention, personalised care pathways and integration of services across the community, primary and secondary care settings.
The Department has developed a policy framework for adults living with long term conditions. The framework will support commissioners and providers in developing and improving services. It is also intended to be a useful source of reference for people who live with long term conditions, setting out the services they and their carers should expect.
The policy framework will be launched in April 2012.

All questions and answers can be read online here at the website of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Inclusion of chronic pain disorder in the german morbidity-based risk adjustment

Chronic pain disease officially included

In a joint press statement a wide coalition of professional societies and associations welcome the inclusion of chronic pain disorder in the morbidity-based risk adjustment (Morbi-RSA) used by German health insurers. 

The German Federal Social Insurance Office (BVA) has redefined the diseases to be considered in the morbidity-based risk adjustment in (Morbi-RSA). The chronic pain as a disease, after years of demands from professional associations and organizations in pain medicine, has now been incorporated in the future catalogue of 80 relevant diagnostic groups of the Morbi-RSA. 

The professional association of doctors and psychological psychotherapist in pain and palliative care in Germany (BVSD), the German Society for Pain Management Association (DGS), the German Interdisciplinary Association of Pain Therapy Association (DIVS), the German Pain Society and the German Pain League Association welcomed this step in a joint press statement at: http://www.bv-schmerz.de 

The morbidity-based risk adjustment system is used in Germany to equalise budgeting risks in insured populations between German insurers. Simular systems are in use in many coutries but do not include chronic pain as a health state to fence budget risks. The inclusion in Germany was made possible due to the fact that in Germany a special ICD10 code for chronic pain has been defined (and is used). The inclusion of chronic pain in the morbidity-based risk adjustment system will motivate insurers and budget holders to track the costs related to chronic pain. 

At SIP 2010 this topic was presented by Reinhard Thoma (see http://www.sip-platform.eu/workshop-4-sip-2010.html ). 

More information available at www.aerzteblatt.de. 

UK Parliamentary Questions on Pain Management answered

Pain Management Training & Quality Outcomes Framework

Lord Luce asked the UK parliament two questions regarding Pain Management training for healthcare professionals and the Quality Outcomes Framework (QoF). The Quality Outcomes Framework is important, since this is how doctors prioritise targets and how targets are reimbursed. These two questions have now been answered. 

The first question was answered on 16 February and can be viewed below. (UK Parliament Column WA178)

First question asked by Lord Luce: To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps are being taken to improve the management of the quality of life of people with long-term conditions, such as chronic pain, through the quality and outcomes framework. [HL15500]

Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government will hold the National Health Service to account for improving patient outcomes as specified in the NHS outcomes framework. The second domain of the framework relates to improvements in the quality of life of people with long-term conditions such as chronic pain. Pain is one of the five dimensions of the overarching indicator used to assess improvements in this domain.

The second question was answered on 14 February and can also be viewed below. (UK Parliament Column WA153)

Second question asked by Lord Luce: To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are taking steps to incorporate training in chronic pain management in the curricula of all healthcare professionals, following the recommendation in the Chief Medical Officer's 2008 annual report. [HL15499]

Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The content and standard of healthcare training is the responsibility of the independent regulatory bodies. Through their role as the custodians of quality standards in education and practice, these organisations are committed to ensuring that healthcare professionals are equipped with the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to deal with the problems and conditions they will encounter in practice, including where appropriate pain management. Once established, a key role of Health Education England will be to develop strong working relationships with the professions and the independent professional regulators in order to promote quality in education and training and responsiveness to innovation and changing service models.

Training in the principles of pain management already form part of the pre-registration and postgraduate curricula of relevant health professionals. In the specific case of general medical practitioners, the possible need for some further initiative to improve skills in chronic pain management is being considered by the Royal College of General Practitioners as one of its current clinical priorities.

EU Commission's Communication on Active & Healthy Ageing

EU Commission's response to Strategic Implementation Plan on Active and Healthy Ageing 

Last week the EU Commission published its official Communication to the European Parliament and the Council on ‘Taking forward the Strategic Implementation Plan of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing’. This is the Commission’s response to the Strategic Implementation Plan adopted by the Partnership’s Steering Group in November 2011. The Communication mentions the launch of the ‘invitations for commitment’. 

Here you will find the EU Commission's Communication

Here you will find the official Press Release by the EU Commission.

Here you will find further details.

The Commission published an online form to be filled in by stakeholders, including detailed information on working in partnership with other stakeholders, contribution to the Partnership's objectives and headline target, and resource sufficiency for the delivery of the proposed action. Here you will find the online form. 

The deadline for submission of commitments is May 31.

Scottish Parliamentary question on Pain answered

Allocation of money by the Long Term Conditions Alliance to projects connected with chronic pain management

Parliamentary question on pain tabled by Scottish Labour shadow health secretary Jackie Baillie MSP has been answered on 6 February by Nicola Sturgeon (Deputy First Minister of Scotland, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy).

Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Scottish Labour): To ask the Scottish Executive how much money has been allocated by the Long Term Conditions Alliance to projects connected with the management of chronic pain. (S4W-05197)

Nicola Sturgeon: The Long Term Conditions Alliance Scotland, through its administration of the Self-Management Fund over the last three years, has allocated a total of £1,089,841 to projects which support people to live with chronic pain in Scotland.

 The answer can be viewed on the website of the Scottish Parliament

Lord Luce´s First Parliamentary question answered

"Training in chronic pain management"

Lord Luce tabled a parliamentary question on chronic pain on 7 February. This question was as follows:

Lord Luce: "To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are taking steps to incorporate training in chronic pain management in the curricula of all healthcare professionals, following the recommendation in the Chief Medical Officer's 2008 annual report."

This question has been answered on 14 February by UK Health Minister Earl Howe.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): "The content and standard of healthcare training is the responsibility of the independent regulatory bodies. Through their role as the custodians of quality standards in education and practice, these organisations are committed to ensuring that healthcare professionals are equipped with the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to deal with the problems and conditions they will encounter in practice, including where appropriate pain management. Once established, a key role of Health Education England will be to develop strong working relationships with the professions and the independent professional regulators in order to promote quality in education and training and responsiveness to innovation and changing service models.

Training in the principles of pain management already form part of the pre-registration and postgraduate curricula of relevant health professionals. In the specific case of general medical practitioners, the possible need for some further initiative to improve skills in chronic pain management is being considered by the Royal College of General Practitioners as one of its current clinical priorities."

Website UK Parliament

UK parliamentary questions on chronic pain

"Chronic pain management"

On 7 February 2012 Lord Luce tabled two parliamentary questions on chronic pain.

 The first question asked, is whether the government is taking steps to incorporate training in chronic pain management in the curricula of all healthcare professionals, following the recommendation in the Chief Medical Officer´s 2008 Annual Report.

 The second question is what steps are taken by the government to improve the management of the quality of life of people with long-term conditions, such as chronic pain, through the quality and outcomes framework.

 It is expected that these questions will be answered on 21 February 2012. The outcomes will then be published on this website. 

Website UK Parliament

Answer EU Commissioner John Dalli to Written Question

Continuous request for EU data on chronic pain 

On 19 January 2012 EU Commissioner for Consumer and Healthcare John Dalli has officially announced his answer to the Written Question tabled by Member of European Parliament Jiří Maštálka from the Czech Republic on the subject of lack of data and statistics on chronic pain in Europe. 

The full response by John Dalli you can read here: Answer John Dalli to Written Question

Here you will get to the official EU Commission's website to the Written quetion and Answer.

Question for written answer by Jiří Maštálka

Need for data on chronic pain in Europe

On 25 November 2011, Member of European Parliament Jiří Maštálka from the Czech Republic tabled a question for written answer to the EU Commission. Subject of the question is the lack of data and statistics on chronic pain. 

The EU Commission's response is to be expected mid-January 2012. 
The full written qestion you can read here: Written question Jiří Maštálka MEP

World Medical Association (WMA) Resolution

WMA Resolution on Access to Adequate Pain Treatment

During the 62nd WMA General Assembly, Montevideo, Uruguay, October 2011, the following Resolution on access to adequate pain treatment was adopted:

"Around the world, tens of millions of people with cancer and other diseases and conditions experience moderate to severe pain without access to adequate treatment. These people face severe suffering, often for months on end, and many eventually die in pain, which is unnecessary and almost always preventable and treatable. People who may not be able to adequately express their pain - such as children and people with intellectual disabilities or with consciousness impairments - are especially at risk of receiving inadequate pain treatment.

It is important to acknowledge the indirect consequences of inadequate pain treatment, such as a negative economic impact, as well as the individual human suffering directly resulting from untreated pain." [...]

Here you can find the WMA resolution. 

EU Parliament Resolution on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD)

Chronic pain recognised

Strasbourg, 15 September 2011. The EU Parliament adpoted a Resolution on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), referencing to chronic pain as a common symptom to the majority of NCDs. 

Get more information

REad the full EU Resolutionon Non-communicable Diseases from 15 September 2011. 

CHANGE PAIN News & Review Journal

Societal Impact of Pain in the EU Parliament

The European Federation of IASP Chapters (EFIC) has successfully organized the “Societal Impact of Pain” (SIP) meetings in 2010 and 2011 to further raise awareness on the issues in chronic pain management among health authorities, budget holders and policy makers. The aim is to ensure that through an effective, focused approach action will be taken to improve pain management. (CHANGE PAIN News & Review Journal, Issue No 4, September 2011) View full text

Editors: Professor Giustino Varrassi, Dr Gerhard H.H. Müller-Schwefe

Further issues available at www.change-pain.com

Answer EU Commissioner John Dalli to Written Question

Awareness of the complexity of burden of chronic pain and its societal impact

Answer by Eu Commissioner John Dalli to Written Question by MEP Jim Higgins (PPE) on the societal impact of pain. 13 July 2011. 

Answer to written questions