Malta supports the 2017 Societal Impact of Pain Symposium – Sant
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MEP Alfred Sant has said that the European Union and member states must act now on the urgent burden that pain causes individually to patients and seek to make chronic pain relief an integral part of public health policies.
Dr Sant, addressing a convention on the impact of pain, said that pain is a common element of numerous chronic diseases.
"It imposes a heavy burden on individuals and leads to enormous costs for healthcare systems as well as for societies, economies and employment," he said.
Dr. Sant was among 20 MEPs from across the European Parliament together with leading researchers and specialists in the field of pain, representatives of key European patients' organisations, and senior European Commission representatives.
The Societal Impact of Pain Symposium (SIP) discussed the way forward to help European governments and EU Institutions act and prioritise the societal impact of pain in their policy agenda.
The Conference noted that 100 million EU citizens have musculoskeletal pain that causes almost 50% of all absences from work lasting three days or longer and 60% of permanent work incapacity. The direct and indirect costs of musculoskeletal diseases have been estimated at €240bn each year – up to 2% of GDP across the European Union.
In Malta, one in five respondents to a European Commission survey indicated that they have felt pain in the week preceding the interview showing that a significant share of Maltese citizens and their families are affected by the burden of pain.
SIP said that Malta has decided to support a meeting of the organisation during its presidency of the EU in 2017.
Sant said, "the official recognition that my Government has given to SIP 2017 is a sign of the relevance of this pressing issue and the seriousness of the impact pain has on European societies. I am confident that today's conclusions for action will lead to substantial policy developments that we will bring to Malta and discuss next year."
"Next year's SIP will be a good opportunity to give visibility to the very important issue of pain treatment. The event's presence on the Maltese Presidency's official calendar is the perfect occasion to stress to national policy-makers the important of addressing pain," remarked the Maltese MEP.
The 'Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) is an international platform created in 2010 with the aim of raising awareness of the relevance of the impact that pain has on our societies, health and economic systems; exchanging information and sharing best-pratices across all member states of the European Union; developing and fostering European-wide policy strategies an activities for an improved pain care in Europe.