New MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind and Pain
On Tuesday 24 February, our member, the European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA), and Pain Alliance Europe (PAE) will launch a new Interest Group on Brain, Mind and Pain at the European Parliament. The two umbrella organisations want to put neurological and pain conditions high on the European agenda.
Across Europe, two thirds of people with brain disorders receive no treatment and 40% of people with chronic pain report that it is not adequately controlled. Neurological and pain conditions are not widely recognised and understood by the general population and even some medical professionals.
Partly because of this lack of knowledge, many people with neurological or pain disorders experience high levels of stigma. Negative attitudes towards people with these conditions include ignorance and fear about the disorders, and their causes and impact.
“These long-term conditions severely impact quality of life, often leading to considerable disability and sometimes to reduced life expectancy. EFNA and PAE felt more attention and better access to treatment was long overdue, a new Parliament with many fresh faces was the ideal opportunity to launch the new group” said EFNA President Audrey Craven.
She continued: “We approached several MEPs before taking the decision to launch and all were enthusiastic. Marian Harkin has been an EFNA champion for a long time and she pointed out how much the Carers Interest Group had done to put the issues of informal carers on the Commission’s agenda. We were delighted Daciana Sarbu, Vice-Chair of ENVI, agreed to be a co-chair and pleased to welcome new MEP Jeroen Lenaers. We were also advised by Sirpa Pietikainen and given great encouragement by new MEP Theresa Griffin”.
The two umbrella organisations are preparing a ‘Book of Evidence’ in consultation with their members to outline what can be done to address brain and pain disorders.. “We will not be just a talking shop. We plan to make real Europe-wide improvements in access to existing treatments and supporting the development of innovative medicines” commented Audrey Craven.