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A new EU4 Health Programme to address key challenges for health systems

European Commission

On May 28, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety - Stella Kyriakides presented the new health programme for the 2021-2027 period: the EU4Health Programme.

Through this programme, the European Commission (EC) proposes to invest a budget of EUR 9.4 billion, which is 20 times more than the funds available for the Third EU Health programme of the previous period.

Mainly designed to contribute to the recovery of the current COVID-19 public health crisis, the programme will focus on crisis preparedness and response while addressing long-term challenges such as health inequalities, non-communicable diseases burden (e.g., cancer, mental health) and the uneven distribution of health care systems capacity.

The Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) platform is pleased to see that the wording of the proposed programme includes actions to address, among others, “the collateral health consequences of a health crisis on patients suffering from chronic diseases and other vulnerable groups” that we expect to benefit to patients living with chronic pain.

An estimated 100 million people live with chronic pain in Europe. Not only does chronic pain affect patients physically, but the economic and social burdens are also impacting their daily lives. This impact is amplified during public health crises like the current COVID-19 pandemic which has made it harder for pain patients to access basic services needed to manage their pain.

The focus on these vulnerable groups in the new EU4Health programme provides a positive outlook for chronic pain, and we hope to see concrete developments in the next months to come.

To get an overview on the impact of COVID-19 for pain patients and healthcare professionals, Pain Alliance Europe (PAE) and the European Pain Federation (EFIC) ran two surveys. We will soon publish the results on our website. Stay tuned to learn more about the results!

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