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35th Edition of the Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) newsletter

Dr. Brona Fullen & Ms. Deirdre Ryan – European Pain Federation EFIC & Pain Alliance Europe (PAE), Belgium

Dear Reader,

We hope you are well, and you enjoyed your summer break.

“Se sembra impossibile allora si può fare”. (If it seems impossible then it can be done)

With these Italian words, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen concluded her annual State of the Union speech on 15th September 2021. President von der Leyen officially revealed plans for “a new health preparedness and resilience mission for the whole of the European Union”, that will be backed up by €50 billion by 2027. Along with this huge investment, President von der Leyen underlined the importance of implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights, which is essential to ensure decent jobs, fairer working conditions, better healthcare, and a better balance in people's lives. SIP pledged in 2020 to help with the implementation of the Social Pillar, and in March 2021 responded to the European Commission’s consultation on the Strategic Framework 2021-2027 for Health and Safety at Work in the EU.

Influencing employment-related policies is one of SIP’s priorities for 2021 (and beyond), and, in June this year SIP published its position paper on Workplace Integration and Adaptation. The paper highlights the need for action by European Institutions, national governments, and employers to address employment and integration issues for individuals with pain across Europe. Related to this, SIP recently met virtually with the office of MEP Radka Maxová (S&D, Czechia). During this meeting we took the opportunity to speak about SIP’s long-term priorities, SIPs 2020-21 policy priorities, our position paper on Workplace Integration and Adaptation, and highlight our virtual event on the 28th October 2021 entitled “What can be done to support a healthy and productive European workforce and society?” This event will be co-hosted with MEP Radka Maxová.

SIP is organising this event in response to the European Institutions’ commitment to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights' Action Plan, the EU Health and Safety Strategic Framework 2021-2027, and the EU Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030. Together with MEP Radka Maxová (S&D, Czechia), and co-host MEP Alex Agius Saliba (S&D, Malta), there will be several other high-profile speakers and experts present to discuss the SIP position paper recommendations.  Additionally, all participants will be able to contribute to the discussions during the parallel breakout sessions. We encourage you to register ASAP here!

Continuing on with the theme of employment and pain, SIP recently held a webinar with the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work (EU-OSHA). This was an opportunity for participants to learn more about the “Healthy Workplaces: Lighten the Load 2020-2022” campaign, to hear more about EU-OSHA's recent report Working with chronic MSDs - good practice advice, and to share their experiences with pain and employment policies at national level. You can find out more by reading the event’s slides here.

On the 14th of September, we held the third SIP National Platform call of 2021, this time with a focus on implementation issues of the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The fourth National Platform call of the year will take place on the 25th November 2021, where SIP National Platforms will have an opportunity to continue discussions (and plans for 2022) on supporting the implementation of ICD-11.

Speaking of plans for 2022, the 2021 SIP Annual Stakeholder Forum meeting will take place virtually on the 9th November 2021 (10h00-12h00 CET). The Stakeholder Forum will bring together National Platforms, the multi-disciplinary SIP stakeholder family, and other organisations with an interest in pain from various sectors. The stakeholder forum meets annually, co-develops the strategy of SIP, and identifies specific objectives and policy goals for the following year. If you are interested in participating, please contact before the end of October.

In line with one of our other 2020-21 priorities (cancer pain policy), SIP continued its engagement with the European cancer policy processes. In September, SIP published its response to the European Parliament Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA) Draft Report on strengthening Europe in the fight against cancer.

In other news, SIP partner Pain Alliance Europe announced the next meeting of the MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind and Pain will be held online on 19 November 2021.

Lastly, if you would like to know more about international and national SIP-related conferences and events in the upcoming months (e.g., the EFIC Congress, April 2022 in Dublin), please consult the SIP calendar.

Once again, we thank you for your continued collaboration and support, and look forward to seeing you at our virtual event on the 28th of October! For more information and how to register, please click here.


Best wishes,

Dr. Brona Fullen, President of European Pain Federation EFIC &
Ms. Deirdre Ryan, President of Pain Alliance Europe (PAE)

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