Maltese patient organisations call for National Pain Plan

Societal Impact of Pain symposium in Valetta kicks off with workshop on Maltese pain policy

Valletta, Malta, June 8, 2017. The 7th annual Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) symposium started yesterday in Valletta with an opening workshop in which the impact of pain on the Maltese society was discussed. In Europe, more than 100 million people are affected by chronic pain. Naturally, this is also an issue for Malta. Initiated by SIP Malta, Malta Health Network and the No Pain Foundation, participants outlined how various Maltese organizations, which are engaged in improving health care, collaborated to address the issue of chronic pain. The developed consensus paper for chronic pain asks national policy makers to adopt nine policy recommendations throughout Malta as part of a National Pain Plan by 2020.

The participants call for restructured Maltese pain management policies and services that are more streamlined towards European guidelines. Moreover, local authorities should put greater focus on retraining and reintegration of pain patients into the workforce since it not only poses economic benefits but also improves social advantages on an individual level. Finally, a chronic pain prevention campaign is being encouraged to raise awareness for persistent pain.

The recommendations build upon the Maltese Presidency of the EU Council’s theme of structured cooperation between health care systems, which is also the theme for this year’s SIP symposium. The event will be 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. It will conclude on Friday, June 9, where concrete policy recommendations will be presented.

- Ends -


Notes to editors: For the full list of policy recommendations, please see below.

  1. Chronic Pain should be included as an independent condition facilitating the access of chronic pain sufferers to treatment. Chronic pain should be recognized as a disease in its own right and not as a symptom of other diseases.
  2. A ‘Chronic Pain Prevention’ Campaign should be run to raise awareness about chronic pain.  Such a campaign should be conducted within a wide variety of settings and should target all groups at risk of developing persistent pain.
  3. Local Pain Management policies and services within our national hospital should be restructured and streamlined towards European policies and guidelines.
  4. Chronic pain should be duly recognized and relative research should be prioritized through appropriate funding.
  5. Recognition of the wide-ranging implications of pain should be endorsed through closer inter-ministerial collaboration.
  6. Pain should be included as a key indicator in the outcomes of medical and surgical interventions.
  7. Appropriate facilities should be established to facilitate specialization of health professionals in the field of pain. 
  8. The Maltese authorities should enact and facilitate vocational retraining and integration into the workforce of persons suffering from chronic pain.
  9. A National Pain Plan should be established and implemented by 2020. 


About the SIP-Platform

The Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) is an international, multi-stakeholder platform created as a joint initiative of the European Pain Federation EFIC® and Grünenthal with the aim to:

  • raise awareness of the relevance of the impact that pain has on our societies, health and economic systems
  • exchange information and sharing best-practices across all Member States of the European Union
  • develop and foster European-wide policy strategies for an improved pain management in Europe (Pain Policy).

The scientific framework of the “Societal Impact of Pain” (SIP) platform is under the responsibility of the European Pain Federation EFIC®. Cooperation partners for SIP 2017 are Pain Alliance Europe (PAE) and Active Citizenship Network (ACN). The SIP 2017 symposium is co-hosted by the Malta Health Network and the No Pain Foundation. The pharmaceutical company Grünenthal GmbH is responsible for funding and non-financial support (e.g. logistical support). In the past the scientific aims of the SIP symposia have been endorsed by over 300 international and national pain advocacy groups, scientific organisations and authorities.            


For more information please contact:

Gertrude Buttigieg
Malta Health Network
(+356) 99873213

Christopher Vella
SIP Malta
(+356) 79092732

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