As all of us well remember, during the Informal Meeting of European Health Ministries, held on September 22nd and 23rd 2014 in Milan, Ministers from the 28 EU member states reached a common position on the need to create a European network ensuring training of professionals in the sector and exchange of information on the effectiveness of therapies for the weakest population groups.
In general, to recognize the chronic pain on the European political agenda was certainly gratifying for all those who have worked to achieve this important result, but now what about next step? Our commitment could be to translate this achievement from the European agenda to the European culture: to raise awareness, fight stigma, to improve quality life for people suffering for acute, severe, chronic pain, to reduce the socio-economic impact of chronic pain in Europe by ensuring that the right to avoid unnecessary suffering is guaranteed everywhere and to everyone.
At present, unfortunately, the situation is not as well as the Survey carried out during 2013-2014 in 18 countries by Active Citizenship Network and Pain Alliance Europe has highlighted. Therefore, it is time to join forces and work as a team. About it, we can find in the last years encouraging signals at national and Eu level.
In my country, in Italy, there is still much work to do about the pain treatment, considering that 16% of patients who complains of pain is not believed or have to see their problem diminished. For this reason, there is a section of the Technical Committee on Health of the Ministry of Health dedicated to this matter, a Committee that brings together 204 experts for advice and support the Institutions in policies covering different areas of health and science. And in the working group of this Committee focused on palliative care and pain management, during 2015 our organization was officially appointed to represent the citizens' associations involved in the topic.
At European level, The European Pain Federation (EFIC) last September 2015 for the first time invited in its permanent Patient Liaison Committee, civic and patients organization dealing with chronic pain and the respect of patients' rights against unnecessary and useless pain. And the same decision was taken last December 2015 by the "Societal Impact of Pain" (SIP) that officially included in its Steering Committee to the citizens and patients point of view.
Cittadinanzattiva Onlus and its European branch Active Citizenship Network (ACN), being deeply involved in the European and national debate on patients' rights against unnecessary and useless pain, welcomed these decisions and well accepted to take part to the abovementionated committees, as well to be officially involved as cooperation partners for SIP 2016.
Antonio Gaudioso, Secretary General of Cittadinanzattiva Onlus
*the full statement will be published in the “SIP 2016 Abstract & Booklet” distribuited during SIP 2016