Chronic pain: making the invisible visible. European collection of good practices

EU conference
"Chronic pain: making the invisible visible. European collection of good practices"

October 2nd, 2014

Venue: European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) – Room TTRE 7701 - 7th floor,
Trèves Bulding, 74, rue de Trèves, 1040 Brussels

During the Italian EU Semester of Presidency (July-December 2014), the conference represents an important occasion due to the political framework: this year, for the first time at European level, the issue of chronic pain is being put on the agenda by the EU institutions, also thanks to the active work of a number of patient and civic associations all over Europe.

The informal meeting of the European Health Ministers was held on 22 and 23 September in Milan and was chaired by Italian Minister Beatrice Lorenzin. It addressed, the following issues: palliative care and pain therapy, fight against Ebola, innovative drugs and cancer prevention.
Please click here to know the main outcomes of the EU Health Ministers’ discussion on pain therapy and palliative care.

So, at European level the conference represents the first occasion for European and National Institutions to present to the community involved in the topic (professionals, patient and civic association, specialized media, stakeholders, etc.) what was discussed and the decisions that will be taken on palliative care and pain management.

With regards to the chronic pain, in 2014 Active Citizenship Network has started a research-project with the aim to give evidence on existing good practices in European countries in terms of struggle against pain.
By organizing this event two weeks later the Ministerial meeting, we provide a add value for participants who have been active for years in the field of the struggle against chronic pain in Europe.

Our aims are to raise awareness about the phenomenon, enhance the body of knowledge of positive experiences and success, and strengthen 's commitment to this topic.
The event involves participants from 17 European Countries and from various background:

  • leader of patients' organizations and representatives of health-focused NGO
  • the Good practices networks promoted by ACN over the years
  • healthcare professionals and their EU Networks
  • policymakers from member states and UE Institutions
  • public relations agency

Download the programme and all the documents.

Chair person
Beverly Collett, Chair of the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition, Consultant in Pain Management & Anaesthesia, Leicester Royal Infirmary NHS Trust; and Treasurer International Association for the Study of Pain


  • Miguel Ángel Cabra de Luna, Representative of the European Economic and Social Committee

Opening Remarks:

  • Mariano Votta, Director of Active Citizenship Network
  • Marco Spizzichino, Director of Palliative care and Pain Therapy Office, Directorate-General for health planning of the Ministry of Health, Italy (EU Presidency).
  • Dance Gudeva Nikovska, from Ministry of Health, Macedonia. She is a Medical Doctor, Assistant Professor of Medicine, and a Fellow of New Westminster College. She is a coordinator of GFATM-Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria funded projects for Tuberculosis control with the ministry of health in Macedonia.

Keynote Presentations about the collected Good Practices/experiences on chronic pain from EU Countries:

  • Marilyn Casha is a Consultant Anaesthetist working full time in Pain Management. She is here both as a representative of the Ministry of Health in Malta and as a member of the Arthritis and Rheumatism of Malta. Dr Casha was responsible for setting up a dedicated Pain Clinic specifically for cancer-related pain as well as the introduction of advanced neuromodulation techniques for pain management into Malta.
  • Jordi Moya Riera MD. Phd from Spain. He is specialist in Anethestesiology and Pain Management, president of the Spanish Association Against Pain “SINE DOLORE”, Director of EMNIPRE (European Multidisciplinary Network in Pain Research and Education), Chairman Mediterranean Multidisciplinary Pain Forum and also Director of the International Chair in Research from EFHRE International University (European Foundation for Health, Research and Education)
  • Harry Kletzko, from Germany. He is vice president of the German Pain League, the country's largest pain organization for patients with chronic pain, which he joined in 2001. He has a lot of experience in the disease of chronic pain. Harry worked nearly 30 years in different German pharmaceutical companies and was responsible for marketing and sales of drugs against pain. Harry Kletzko is also General Manager of the IMC GmbH, a management company in the health sector that, together with pain specialist centres and health care companies, implements new treatment-possibilities for people suffering from pain.
  • Penka Georgieva, from Bulgaria. She is a leader of “Patients' Organizations With you”, partner of Active Citizenship Network, and she is involved in many other national initiative such as Association of Reproductive Health, Pregnancy and Childcare "Smile", Alliance of Transplanted and Operated ATO "Future for All", Association of Patients with Cardiovascular Diseases. She will focus her presentation on Diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
  • Maria Teresa Flor de Lima, from Portugal. She is a physician, specialist in Anesthesiology, Pain Medicine (recognized by the College of Medicine)  and Palliative Care (with a Master). She works in the Azores islands since 32 years ago and n Pain Medicine since 17 years (Coordinator of a Multidisciplinaruy Pain Unit). She is the Coordinator of a Regional Plan against Pain since 2009 and she also works in a Palliative Care Team.
  • Roberto Casale, is head of the Department of Clinical Neurophysiology & Pain Rehabilitation Unit, Montescano, Italy.   He was  Italian Councillor of EFIC-European Pain Federation, and at the present time Director of the Montescano Pain School, founded 6 years ago for Clinical and Instrumental Diagnostic Processes in Pain Medicine.
  • Agron Bytyqi, from Kosovo, is a member of the “Professional Health Association-Pain Section”, and Patients' Rights Association in Kosovo. He is a coordinator of Center for Nursing Education in the Regional Hospital of Prizren.


The role of innovation: apps & tools for chronic pain management

  • Dee O'Sullivan, from Belgium. She is Director of at PatientView, specialising in communications strategy, advocacy and pan-European stakeholder engagement, and writing and editing print and web-based communications, predominantly in the fields of public health and education.
  • Luca Miceli and Rym Bednarova, from University of Udine, Italy. They are both Medicinae Doctor, pain therapist with specific know in health management and medical apps development. Authors of papers on pain medicine published in international scientific journals.
  • Judy Birch, from Uk whit a presentation on APP and a presentation on National System for Pelvic Pain. In 2000 she retired early from teaching due to ill health. At that time she started a local support group for those with endometriosis. This focus became broader when she co-founded the Pelvic Pain Support Network in 2006 (also one of the founding organizations of Pain Alliance Europe). She is a member of a National Institute for Health and Care Excellence committee which advises on the accreditation of guidance and guidelines and also advise on patient and public involvement in health research.


12:00 - 12:30  Chronic pain management: the role of the alternative medicine and other no medical practices

  • Frans Copers, from Belgium. He is director and head teacher of the Kimura Shiatsu Institute, Member and founder of the Belgian Shiatsu Federation, and Vice Political representative of the European Shiatsu federation at the EU level in EFCAM (European Forum for Complementary and Alternative Methods). He will talk about experiences carried out by European Shiatsu federation in several countries.


  • Christel Lombaerts, from Centrum voor Klassieke Homeopathie, Belgium. She has a master’s degree in education sciences and in homeopathy. She has run the Centrum voor Klassieke Homeopathie (CKH) in Leuven, Belgium from 2004 till 2013, professionalizing and promoting homeopathy education. Currently she still functions as a trustee for the Centrum voor Klassieke Homeopathie but her focus today is mainly on health activism, as co-founder of UniSAN.
  • Gilles Fichez, “Tenfortheatre", Maryvonne De Backer, “Association Douleurs Sans frontiers”, Martine Chauvin*, Association Francophone pour Vaincre les Douleurs, France. See the video

To download the Report and Abstract click here

With the official patronage of the:
Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers in the context of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

and the official patronage of the:
Italian Ministry of Health

The research was made possible thanks to an unrestricted educational grant from:
Pfizer Inc.

The event was made possible thanks to an unrestricted educational grant from:
Pfizer Inc.
Grünenthal GmbH

For further information please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Other information:
The Engagement of Cittadinanzattiva in the Fight against Useless Pain
Good practice: the policy of Cittadinanzattiva

(Last Updated: Ocotber 2014)

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