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28th Edition of the Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) newsletter

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

Dear Reader,

2020 is in full swing and so is the work of the Societal Impact of Pain (SIP).

Building on the successes of 2019, which marked the SIP platform’s tenth anniversary, we will be looking to bring pain policy into the next decade with the support of our European and national platforms.

We are happy to inform you that the SIP 2019 Symposium Proceedings are now available. More than 70 faculty members have contributed to the publication of the Proceedings booklet which provides a comprehensive documentation on the discussions, outcomes and recommendations from the Symposium and the pre-meetings on 6-7 November 2019 in Brussels.

What has happened in the first weeks of the new year?

At the European Union level, 2020 will be an exciting year. In Brussels, the new Commission is up and running and is beginning to deliver on its key priorities, one of them being the “Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan”. SIP is proud to see that the overall objective of the Cancer Plan is to improve prevention, detection, treatment and management of cancer across the EU. It also looks to solve a range of issues including the lack of adequate healthcare models and skills for palliative care and pain management. The inclusion of such wording is the result of the work done by the SIP platform over the past ten years in raising awareness at both the national and European levels.

Besides this, a new delivery mechanism, which will be key to the Plan, is the Mission on Cancer of the new EU research programme Horizon Europe (2021-2027). The Mission will be guided by the Mission Board for Cancer which is in charge of identifying one or more specific missions for implementation under Horizon Europe and proposing concrete targets and timelines. SIP has often highlighted how EU funding programmes can offer opportunities to foster pain research and share success stories and challenges. For instance, in early January, the European Commission published a dedicated issue on pain "‘Why do people develop chronic pain" in “Horizon, the EU research & Innovation magazine“.

2020 kicked off with a SIP Malta workshop which brought together clinical experts and patient representatives to define the most urgent needs of patients and how to address them with concrete actions. The common objective has been that patient-centred holistic pain care needs to be achieved which will be the focus of the next SIP Malta activities.

Beyond Europe, we would like to inform you that SIP has submitted an abstract to present the SIP national pain plan results from the survey at the next International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) Congress on pain on 4-8 August in Amsterdam which is the world’s largest pain congress. Have a look at the SIP calendar and let us know if other SIP related meetings should be added.

As you can see, 2020 is on track to be a very interesting year and all these opportunities and challenges were discussed by the SIP Partners (EFIC, PAE, ACN and Grünenthal) in their annual meeting at the end of January. More information and details on the strategy for 2020 will follow in due course.

On behalf of the SIP partners, I wish you a healthy and successful year 2020! We look forward to further collaborations in this exciting year ahead.

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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