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First SIP Spain Forum hosted in the Spanish Ministry of Health in Madrid

Juan Ignacio Quintana – Grünenthal, Spain

The Societal Impact of Pain Forum, held for the first time in Spain, was organized by the Spanish Society of Pain (SED), representing the European Pain Federation (EFIC), the Spanish Society of Health Managers (SEDISA) and Pain Alliance Europe (PAE), with the collaboration of Active Citizen Network (ACN) and Grünenthal, follows the line of work of its European counterpart. This platform seeks to bring together all those professionals involved in decisions relating to pain and the quality of life of patients and has brought together patients from the General Alliance of Patients (AGP), Spanish Patients Forum (FEP) and Platform of Patient Organizations (POPs) to address the challenges faced in the care of pain, both acute and chronic, to advance in the improvement of the quality of care and its treatment in the different autonomous communities.

At the opening of the forum, the Director of Public Health, Quality and Innovation of the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare, Pilar Aparicio, has highlighted the importance of pain treatment. "In any national health survey, pain is one of the health problems of the Spanish population," she stressed. For this reason, the director of Public Health has indicated that "responding to pain is one of the main strategies of this Ministry" and we are working from the point of view of quality, innovation and equity "so that all citizens have a better access to the best management for their pain”.

Pain affects the quality of life of people and, consequently, of society as a whole. Maria Soledad García Penalta, member of the Board of Directors of PAE, has emphasized the need to "identify and solve deficiencies in the management of chronic pain, as patients they complain about the long waiting period for diagnosis and persistent pain despite treatment, which affects their work capacity and their social-family relationships.

The specialist highlighted the importance of analyzing the impact of pain in Spain, affecting approximately 17% of the population, thus raising awareness of the weight it has in our society, health and economic system. More than 90% of patients have gone to a health professional because of their pain, as discussed in the working group on pain as an indicator of care, held within the framework of the forum.

An active role of the patient in the management of pain

Among the main conclusions reached in the different working groups developed in the forum, experts have agreed that in order to increase the quality of care, it is necessary to improve the results on people with pain. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate the patient's expectations, what result they want to obtain and, from there, define the actions to improve their overall situation.

Defining the threshold of pain is a priority for its treatment. Therefore, Carlos Mur, member of the board of directors of SEDISA and coordinator of the working group based on the coordination and continuity of care, recalled that it is necessary to continue with the development of "better indicators" to allow its approach from science and praxis.

"The pain belongs to everyone, from professionals, patients and caregivers, as well as patient associations", has warned the SEDISA representative. The patient thus takes a leading role in the management of pain and requires empowering their figure through their participation in the development of pain care plans and include their experience in the evaluation criteria of the plans, as it has been established in the conclusions of the working groups.

These aspects make it necessary to establish pain as a priority and transversal element in the framework of national health strategies and policies to ensure equity and efficiency of care for these patients, contributing to the improvement of their quality of life. In this regard, the representative of the Pain Alliance Europe has underlined that the improvement of pain management would provide substantial economic and social benefits: a more efficient use of existing resources, less absenteeism, greater productivity and a lower burden on Social Security budgets.

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