Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) 2016

8 policy recommendations: Time for Action

The organizing partners of the SIP platform formulated the following key recommendations directed at the institutions of the European Union and national governments:

  1. Implementation of article 8.5 of the Cross-border healthcare Directive
    The institutions of the European Union and national governments should ensure the flawless implementation of article 8.5 of Directive 2011/24/EU in all member states, in order to prevent the refusal of prior authorisation by national health authorities when the patient is entitled to healthcare which cannot be provided on its territory within a time limit which is medically justifiable, based on an objective medical assessment of the patient´s medical condition, the history and probable course of the patient´s illness, the degree of the patient´s pain and/ or the nature of the patient´s disability at the time when the request for authorisation was made or renewed.

  2. Establish an EU platform on the societal impact of pain
    In order to empower pain patients, their family, relatives and care-givers through the availability of information and access to pain diagnosis and management, the institutions of the European Union and national governments should establish an European platform for the exchange, comparison and benchmarking of access, quality and best practices of healthcare services in pain management and its impact on society.

  3. Integrate chronic pain within EU policies on chronic diseases
    The institutions of the European Union and national governments should acknowledge that pain is a common health state in many chronic diseases and chronic pain itself can be considered a chronic condition in respect to healthcare policy. Therefore the European Commission and member states should integrate pain care within Commission work and Joint Actions (e.g. JA CHRODIS) as well as the expected trio council conclusions on fighting non-communicable diseases.

  4. Ensure that pain care is a part of policies and strategies on cancer
    Within the framework of the Joint Action on Cancer Control (JA CanCon) and national cancer strategies, the institutions of the European Union and national governments should dedicate adequate attention to the relevance of pain in cancer care, including but not limited to survivorship and rehabilitation.

  5. Initiate policies addressing the impact of pain on employment
    Within the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy and European Semester framework of economic governance, the institutions of the European Union and national governments should promote policies that reflect the link between pain care and employment, and recognise the interconnection of health, employment and social protection policies and systems.

  6. Implement workplace adjustments for people with chronic pain
    The institutions of the European Union and national governments should enforce or implement legislation providing for reasonable, flexible workplace adjustments by employers that can help people with chronic pain stay in work or reintegrate into the workforce.

  7. Increase investment in pain research
    The institutions of the European Commission and national governments should increase investment in research (basic science, clinical, epidemiological) on the societal impact of pain as a priority in future EU framework programs, involving chronic pain patient associations in the development of research priorities, and undertake research on involuntary causes of early retirement and unemployment due to pain across Europe.

  8. Prioritise pain within education for healthcare professionals, patients and the general public
    The institutions of the European Union and national governments should prioritise and stimulate the prevention of the impact of pain on society by education and providing information on diagnosis, and management of pain amongst all healthcare professionals, patients and the general public through education and training.