SIP 2017 - Key Statement
Silvana Fanalista – No Pain Foundation (President), Malta
"Adequate management and treatment of chronic pain is very important because untreated pain impacts on sufferer’s quality of life, it is an economical burden for sufferers, their families and social systems. It is therefore crucial to raise awareness and educate professionals and patients on chronic pain issue."
No Pain Foundation
Chronic pain cannot be ignored
The chronic pain domain is a complex one and is often contradictory, since everything rotates around the patient but the distress also spreads out to the familial, emotional, social and economic strata. A chronic pain patient represents a whole universe around which rotate feelings, persons and needs. And yet to this day our system has not taken into consideration these persons’ needs.
Chronic pain affects an estimated 100 million people across Europe. During these last years, awareness on chronic pain has increased, however there is still a gap in policy and holistic information at a European level that safeguards the interests of patients with chronic pain.
Chronic pain has a very significant negative impact on the quality of life of patients, affecting daily activities and even the ability to work. In fact, persons affected by chronic pain are more frequently absent from work and are also forced to stop working earlier than others. The total cost for European systems for chronic pain is equivalent to about 300 billion euro/ year. However, in order to calculate the real socio-economic impact of pain, it is also necessary to calculate the intangible costs (poor nutrition, sleep disorders, social isolation and so on), which in negative way impact the quality of life of patients suffering from chronic pain.
As a consequence of the picture I gave you, today the chronic pain domain and its socioeconomic impact represent a priority area for action within European and national health policies. There are a lot of goals to achieve in chronic pain field. And to reach these goals a cultural change is required. Such a change requires a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary approach.
It is estimated that around 20% of European adults suffer from chronic pain, and the trend is growing. In other words, adopting policies that address the needs of these patients who are ultimately also EU citizens would have a wide ranging impact both in the short, medium and long term. The following impacts are expected:
- collection of data on chronic pain from all EU Member States which is comparable to each other
- the implementation of an EU policy, which addresses the needs of persons suffering from chronic pain
- NGO representatives, professionals and experts who are more aware and actively engaged in policy making on an EU level
- better management of chronic pain in Europe
- improved quality of lives as a result of the policies adopted at European and national levels
- enhanced European networks and cooperation to combine resources and enhance cooperation at European level
- better understanding by direct and indirect participants of the role and contribution of the EU in policy making
No Pain Foundation (NPF) has been established in Malta to create a non-profit organisation for the purpose of carrying out social, educational as well as research and development activities in the field of pain management and pain therapies. All our activities are aimed at improving quality of life of patients suffering from chronic pain by raising doctors and citizens awareness and supporting patients suffering from chronic pain. The No Pain Foundation aims to influence health related policies and practices for the welfare of the patients suffering from chronic pain.
NPF is affiliated with Pain Alliance Europe (PAE), a Pan-European umbrella organisation of 33 national associations in 16 EU Member States. NPF is Contributing Member of the European Pain Federation-EFIC (which is a multidisciplinary professional organisation in the field of pain research and medicine, consisting of the 37 chapters of the International Association for the Study of Pain-IASP).