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36th 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,

As 2021 draws to a close, the Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) would like to thank you for your continued support. The COVID-19 pandemic still has a significant impact on our daily lives, in particular, for healthcare professionals and patients living with chronic pain. The pandemic has had a major impact on the work environment in terms of emerging challenges of digital work and helping chronic pain people to return to work after COVID.

Speaking on the theme of employment at the European Union (EU) level, on the 1st December 2021, the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union held an event entitled “The Future is Here: Occupational Safety and Health Perspective”. The conference was an opportunity to discuss the advantages and the traps of distance working, the right to switch off, and privacy.

As you know, influencing employment-related policies is one of SIP’s priorities for 2021/22 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. Following up this publication, SIP held a multi-stakeholder online event hosted by MEP Alex AGIUS SALIBA (S&D, Malta) and MEP Radka Maxová (S&D, Czechia) to discuss the paper’s recommendations in more detail. The event, entitled “What can be done to support a healthy and productive European workforce and society?”, aimed to identify gaps in employment policies for people living with disabilities and pain, and to provide recommendations for an effective integration and adaptation of the working environment, so these people can remain in, or return to work. SIP organised 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. Read the report here.

In the last part of 2021, SIP also held two other important meetings. In November 2021 we held the SIP Annual Stakeholder Forum meeting. The Stakeholder Forum brings 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. Read the report of the meeting here.

The second meeting was the last SIP National Call of 2021, which took place on 25th November 2021. The call was an opportunity to welcome the new SIP Belgium colleague and discuss SIP’s priorities for 2022. SIP’s 2022 policy and advocacy activities will be on ICD-11 and ICF implementation, workplace integration and adaptation, and pain and digital health. Read the minutes of the call here.

Along with all these activities, SIP continued its external engagement with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). On 1st December 2021 SIP met virtually with MEP Katrin Langensiepen (Greens/EFA, Germany). The meeting was an opportunity for all to discuss areas of shared interest and potential future collaboration.

The SIP National Platforms continue to be active. For example, SIP France participated in a multi-stakeholder event hosted by the French Minister of Solidarity and Health Mr. Olivier Véran with the aim of improving pain management and care in France. Read more about the event here. Also SIP Portugal held an event in occasion of its National Day Against Pain. Last, but not least, SIP Belgium resumed its activities under new leadership.

In other news, SIP partner Pain Alliance Europe (PAE) announced that the BMP Grant is now open for applications! The BMP Grant aims to support projects that will help improve the quality of life of people living with brain, mind, and pain conditions. The theme of the third edition of the BMP Grant is prevention and self-management. Have a look here and apply before the end of March 2022!

In other relevant news the EFIC health literacy campaign “Plain Talking” has been selected by Brian Mind and Pain (BMP) as a best practice in the area of access to treatment, service and support. Learn more about the campaign here.

Ms. Mariana Branco, EU Affairs Coordinator for Pain Alliance Europe, is leaving us for new challenges. Mariana joined us in 2019, and we thank her for her significant contribution over the past two years and wish her well for the future.

Finally, please remember to visit our website, and follow us on our social media channels so you do not miss anything! You can also keep up to date with SIP’s future activities by checking out the events section of our website.

Once again, we would like to thank you for your continued collaboration and support. We wish you and your loved ones a happy, safe, and healthy holiday and new year.


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

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