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29th Edition of the Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) newsletter

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

Dear Reader,

Since our last newsletter, the COVID-19 crisis took over with unthinkable consequences on every aspect of our lives personally, professionally and as patients.
Nevertheless, the Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) platform and its partners continued their activities and here we come with some exciting news.
The current COVID-19 pandemic brought important impacts on everyone’s lives including patients living with chronic pain and healthcare professionals. A survey from Pain News Network on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on chronic pain patients in the US and Canada showed that many people with chronic pain and chronic illness are staying at home and practicing social distancing to protect themselves from the coronavirus. Against this scenario, Pain Alliance Europe (PAE) launched an online survey addressed to patients to understand what can be done to improve the situation. A similar online survey was launched by European Pain Federation EFIC and addressed to healthcare professionals working in the field of pain. The results of both surveys will be available soon and published on the SIP website. Do not miss the upcoming EFIC webinar on 8 July on the management of chronic pain in the time of COVID-19.

Despite this unique health crisis, SIP is happy to see the European Commission (EC) working full speed to deliver key health milestones to improve the lives of patients with chronic diseases, including chronic pain. By the end of this year, SIP is looking forward to the new Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and how the EC will support national cancer plans across all disease stages from prevention to survivorship. In this regard, we welcome the decision of the European Parliament of setting up of a special committee on beating cancer that will look – among others – at actions to strengthen the approach at every key stage of the disease: prevention, diagnosis, treatment, life as a cancer survivor and palliative care.

Further to that, we welcome the proposal of the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety - Stella Kyriakides on the new health programme for the 2021-2027, EU4Health Programme that 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). Last but not least, we welcome the future EU research and innovation programme Horizon Europe fundamental to advance the health research, therefore we hope for an agreement among member states on the next EU budget (2021-2027).

SIP is continuing its activities at national level through its National SIP Platforms and we are looking forward to the next meetings and initiatives. The SIP Roadmap Monitor 2019 is reflecting the status of policies supporting the SIP priorities which has been recently published. This is a great tool that the SIP national platforms and other national pain organisations should use to further investigate and identify gaps in their national policy environments and inform policy makers around the Societal Impact of Pain’s four policy priority areas.

Many events now take place virtually and we are pleased to announce that the SIP abstract for the World Congress on Public Health 2020 EUPHA online event on 12 – 16 October 2020 has been accepted for an oral presentation. Another SIP presentation will be given at the IASP’s online World Congress on Pain on 27 June – 1 July, 2021.

The annual Pain Alliance Europe (PAE) General Assembly took place on 24 June in a virtual format. On the same day, PAE hosted the Brain Mind and Pain (BMP) Grant 2019-2020 Ceremony to announce the winners of the 2nd edition of the grant “Stop Stigma!” and to present the results from the first edition.

During the past months we continued to work on the new SIP governance. From July 1st 2020 onwards, European Pain Federation EFIC and Pain Alliance Europe will take the lead on the strategic planning of activities, as well as the management of projects and communications. To know more about it, read our article.

As the summer break approaches, SIP already preparing for its autumn activities, including participating in numerous events. Do not hesitate to have a look at our updated SIP calendar!

On behalf of SIP, I wish you and your loved ones a great and healthy summer break! We look forward to further collaborations in this remaining year ahead. Stay safe!

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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