The 7th annual Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) symposium from June 7-9 in Valletta, Malta has been an outstanding event with actionable results. SIP 2017 with the title “Structured Cooperation between Health Care Systems tackling the societal impact of pain!” was attended by more than 300 participants, including healthcare professionals, pain advocacy groups, researchers and specialists in the field of pain as well as insurers, budget holders and European politicians.
Clear policy recommendations having been formulated to change pain care in the European Union for the better and alleviate the effect of pain on society. Four working groups at SIP 2017 developed individual suggestions targeting the issues discussed:
1.Establish an EU platform on the societal impact of pain
2.Develop instruments to assess the societal impact of pain
3.Initiate policies addressing the impact of pain on employment
4.Prioritise pain within education for health care professionals, patients and the general public
5.Increase investment in research on the Societal Impact of Pain
Martin Seychell, Deputy Director General in the Health and Food Safety’s Directorate, announced in his speech at SIP 2017 that the European Commission is following SIP’s lead and has launched the EU Health Policy Platform to build a bridge between health systems and policy makers. The societal impact of pain is included in the platform as well which reflects also the Maltese Presidency’s goal of structured cooperation between healthcare systems. It is a huge step forward for our efforts and patients throughout Europe.