2014: Pain therapy and palliative care in the European political agenda

Introduction
In compliance with art. 13 of Law no. 234/2012 on “general regulation on Italian participation in the development and fulfillment of the EU legislation and policies”, the Italian Government, on January 10th 2014 sent to the Italian Parliament the annual programmatic report for 2014 concerning “the Italian participation to the EU”. To what concern health protection, the Government indicated pain therapy and palliative care as areas of potential focus during the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union: an aspect that medicine progress makes news of current interest and on which our Country wants to share its own experience with other Member States.
In other words, with the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, July-December 2014, for the first time chronic pain is in the European agenda and, as a consequence, the topic was brought to the attention of all European Health Ministries. All this happened during the Informal Meeting of European Health Ministries that each Presidency of the Council of the European Union organizes during its Semester.

Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union: Informal Council of European Health Ministries
The meeting, chaired by the Italian Health Minister on behalf of the European Union was held on September 22nd and 23rd in Milan. Representatives of European Health Ministries, European Parliament, Ministries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)Island, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and representatives of international organizations of the healthcare sector such as OECD and OMS. To know more:

  • Read the message that Italian Minister of Health Beatrice Lorenzin  sent to the European colleagues on the topic of pain therapy and palliative care (IT - EN)
  • Download the Position Paper: “Palliative Care, PaediatricPalliative Care, Pain Therapy: Humanization of care” (ITEN)
  • Download the presentation of Marco Spizzichino, Director of the XI office “Palliative care and pain treatment” of the Italian Ministry of Health
  • Read the conclusions of EU Health Ministers Meeting (ITEN version)
  • The Italian participation to the European Union, Programmatic Report (view page 100)
  • EUROPA un NuovoInizio – Programme of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU (view page 50)
  • European Parliament Resolution of 15 September 2011 on European Union position and commitment in advance to the UN high-level meeting on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases
  • Download the Report concerning Law no. 38/10 on "the right to not suffer" that Italian Ministry of Health realized for the Parliament in 2012 in which you can find the commitment at national level of Cittadinanzattiva and an European level of Active Citizenship Network.

 Press review:

For people concerned, this important result is reason for great satisfaction; but it is also a big challenge what is next: to reduce the impact of chronic pain in Europe, ensuring that the right to avoid unnecessary pain is guaranteed everywhere and to everybody. This refers to civic and patients associations, professionals and in primisfor the Institutions.

In particular,putting pain therapy and palliative care on its agenda will allow the Italian Presidency to position Italy as a pioneer in this field and share its own experience with other member states (especially with regard to the best practice law 38/2010 on palliative care and pain therapy). It will, above all, promote a greater awareness of the issue of chronic pain therapy among EU and national policy and decision-makers and over the longer term, reduce the negative impact of chronic pain on EU society.This would not only ensure a lasting legacy of the Italian Presidency but also pave the way to a better future for patients in Europe suffering from chronic pain.

Active Citizenship Network (ACN), being deeply involved in the European and national debate on patients’ rights against unnecessary and useless pain, welcomed the Italian Presidency intention to tackle the issue of pain therapy and palliative care giving its contribution, in continuity with its pluriannual activity.

In particular, in 2014 if in Italy the contributions of Cittadinanzattiva – Tribunal for patients’ rights “opened” the Report concerning Law no. 38/10 on “the right to not suffer” that Italian Ministry of Health realized for the Parliament. In a specular way, at European level,  Cittadinanzattiva-Active Citizenship Network “closed” the report presented by the Italian Ministry of Health during the informal meeting of the 28 European Health Ministries held on September 22nd and 23rd 2014 in Milan in the context of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
In the informal meeting’s conclusive session on “palliative care and pain therapy”, the civic recommendations produced by Active Citizenship Network e Pain Alliance Europe were recalled. All this was also reported by Italian Ministry of Health to national and international institutional representatives, patients associations and stakeholders, on October 2nd in Brussel during the conference organized by ACN concerning best practices on fighting chronic pain.
So, it is a reason for satisfaction for ACN not only to have contributed to put for the first time the topic of fighting against chronic pain in the European Agenda, but also to have put contents and points of view to the attention of 28 European countries. 

 

(Last update: December 2014)

 

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