by Neil Betteridge, Strategic Advisor, GAfPA
The Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) Steering Committee met in Brussels today, 4 October 2017, to plan the forward strategy for the campaign.
This meeting was attended by around 40 key stakeholders involved in the pain policy agenda in Europe. The partners leading SIP 2018 will once more be the European Pain Federation, Grünenthal, Pain Alliance Europe, and Active Citizenship Network. I was invited principally in an individual capacity and as Co-Chair of the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition, but there was plenty of informal discussion in the breaks too about the work of other organisations, such as EULAR and EAfPA, the European division of GAfPA.
To recap, the main achievement of this last year’s SIP activity has been the establishment by the European Commission of an Expert Working Group on the Social Impact of Pain. This was described by one person today as an empty house with an invitation to fill it. In policy terms the tenants form a ‘consultative unit’.
Participation is by invitation only (from the European Pain Federation/Pain Alliance Europe, not the Commission, which itself has to request permission to join) but the European Pain Federation is keen that the ‘SIP Family’ can participate. So EAfPA may well be able to contribute here in support of the wider agenda.
The meeting was joined via Skype by a representative of the European Commission DG Sante who spoke about the new online platform. The official aim is ‘to identify, share and encourage replication of good health policy practices’.
There are 2 levels on the platform. One is a general health policy platform called the Agora. This Expert Group on the Social Impact of Pain is a sub-community of that and is private to specifically registered members.
Apart from the exchange of good practices and ideas, the platform also has a library so can act as a repository for storing policy documents; provides a shared calendar for key events, and allows polls to screen opinions on key policy issues.