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27th Edition of the Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) newsletter

Prof. Bart Morlion – Multidisciplinary Pain Centre of the University of Leuven, Belgium

Dear Reader,

The year 2019, marking the Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) platform’s first ten years of collaboration, is drawing to a close. In October 2009, a small group of stakeholders joined forces with the aim of tackling the burden of chronic pain on society. Ten years later, the Platform has grown into a large community, with more than 340 endorsing organisations from over 35 countries. One of the major achievements of the past ten years has been the establishment of SIP national platforms, nine to date - SIP Finland and SIP Slovenia recently joined the SIP network. Bringing the pain care community together to exchange best practice, provide support, and call for action at political level, SIP is widely considered a benchmark for integrated multi-stakeholder collaboration towards concrete actions.

To showcase the major achievements at the European Union (EU) and national levels, the SIP 2019 Symposium - titled “Bringing pain policy to the next decade” - took place on 7 November in Brussels, Belgium. More than 200 people attended the Symposium, and many followed it via live stream. The event brought together key international experts in the field of pain care, along with patient representatives, policy makers and other stakeholders in the field of pain policy. The format of the Symposium was a series of interactive panel sessions focusing on the four pillars of the SIP Joint Statement (indicators, research, employment, education) developed under the auspices of the European Commission 2018 Thematic Network program.

During the Symposium, guided poster tours about the activities of the SIP national platforms and other SIP-related initiatives were arranged to present good practices from national and international projects, as well as initiatives on pain policy.

Have a look at the exciting program and the abstract book where all materials and information from SIP 2019 can be found and watch the video from the event.

On 6 November, a pre-workshop was organised at the margins of the SIP Symposium hosted by the German Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels on the topic of “Health data standardisation: looking at the implementation of ICD-11 and ICF”. A group of about 60 key experts in the field of pain including academics, healthcare professionals, patient organisations and industry representatives developed a set of recommendations on “Addressing pain as a health indicator by implementing the ICD-11 and ICF”. The recommendations were introduced at the SIP 2019 Symposium and will be presented to the German Presidency of the Council in 2020. The goal is to bring forward the roll out of the combined use of the World Health Organisation (WHO) 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) and the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), with a specific focus on fostering pain as a health indicator via digital health.

The SIP 2019 Symposium was a great opportunity to demonstrate the significant achievements of the SIP platform over the past ten years. It also inspired the SIP community to bring pain policy into the next decade.

Another important event took place on November 29 in Helsinki: the newly established SIP Finland platform arranged its first seminar. With representatives from SIP Europe and Sweden, many good ideas and best practices were shared about how to improve pain care, not only in Finland, but also in other Nordic countries like Sweden.

On behalf of the SIP partners, I would like to thank you for your collaboration on and endorsement of SIP initiatives in 2019. I wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday and a fantastic start to the new year!

Prof. Bart Morlion

Director of the Multidisciplinary Pain Centre of the University of Leuven, Belgium
President of the European Pain Federation EFIC

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