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Debate on the chronic pain plan in Andalusia

The Andalusian Ministry of Health has announced the launch of the Care Plan for People with Chronic Pain to reach all those affected, offer continuity of care, study child pain and count on the participation of patients

The Chronic Pain Plan in Andalusia will reach all patients


From left to right, the manager of the Verge de les Neus University Hospital in Granada, Maria dels Àngels García Rescalvo; the Health Director of the Ponent Primary Care Health District of Almeria, Beatriz Martínez Larios; the deputy health minister, Miguel Ángel Guzmán; the vice president of the Andalusian Council of Official Pharmaceutical Associations, Ernesto Cervilla; the president of the Rheumatoid Foundation of patients, María de los Ángeles Fernández; the coordinator of the Andalusian Care Plan for People in Pain, Ignacio Velázquez; and the general director of Health Assistance and Health Results of the Andalusian Health Service, Luis Martínez Hervás, who participated in the debate “Chronic pain in Andalusia: challenges and future”, organized by the EFE Agency in collaboration with the Grünenthal Foundation, and which took place at the Andalusian Council of Official Colleges of Pharmacists, in Seville. EFE/José Manuel Vidal

This impulse was highlighted at the meeting “Chronic pain in Andalusia: challenges and future”, organized by the EFE Agency, in collaboration with the Grünenthal Foundation, which took place at the Andalusian Council of Official Colleges of Pharmaceuticals, in Seville.

A forum inaugurated by the Deputy Minister of Health and Consumer Affairs, Miguel Angel Guzmaninvolving health authorities, experts in the treatment and management of chronic pain and patients.

The coordinator of the Andalusian Care Plan for People with Pain took part in this forum, Ignacio Velazquez; the general director of Health Assistance and Health Results of the Andalusian Health Service, Luis Martínez Hervás; and the manager of the Verge de les Neus University Hospital in Granada, Maria dels Ángeles García Rescalvo.

Also the Health Director of the Ponent Primary Care Health District of Almeria, Beatriz Martínez Larios; the vice president of the Andalusian Council of Official Pharmaceutical Associations, Ernesto Cervilla; and the president of the Rheumatoid Foundation of patients, Maria dels Ángeles Fernández.

In Andalusia there are 1,400,000 patients suffering from chronic pain and there are 23 units specialized in this disease, recognized by the World Health Organization as such in 2019.

Direct referral from primary to pain units more quickly; continuity of care for patients; the multidisciplinary integration of all sectors involved in the treatment of this disease; the coordination between primary and specialized care; and the active participation of patients have been the main issues analysed.

The deputy health minister, MIguel Ángel Guzmán, chairs the working table of the debate “Chronic pain in Andalusia: challenges and future”, organized by the EFE Agency in collaboration with the Grünenthal Foundation, in which health authorities, experts have participated to the treatment and management of chronic pain and patients, and which took place at the Andalusian Council of Official Colleges of Pharmacists, in Seville. EFE/José Manuel Vidal

Impulse for the Andalusian Chronic Pain Plan

The Vice-Minister for Health has set out a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach to pain care and has highlighted: “In this legislature we are driven by humanisation, we want to see pain from the person’s point of view, committed to chronicity, proximity and accessibility”

“We are designing a plan to reach all parts of Andalusia and all people with chronic pain,” announced Guzmán.

Ignacio Velázquez has emphasized that the main challenge of treating chronic pain in Andalusia is speed.

For this reason, he has defended the need to refer patients directly from primary care to pain units in order to gain speed in health care, so that if the deadlines are currently one or two years, they should be shortened to 15 days in oncological pain and a month in neuropathic pain”.

The coordinator of the Pain Plan has indicated two more challenges for the future: achieving continuity of care in the treatment of patients with chronic pain, integrating all the health sectors involved, such as nursing or pharmacy; and to pay attention to childhood pain, which is “the great forgotten, and is underdiagnosed and under-resourced”.

From left on the right, Beatriz Martínez Larios, Luis Martínez Hervás and Javier Tovar, director of EFESalut and moderator of the debate. EFE/José Manuel Vidal

A chronic pain that makes a normal life possible

Luis Martínez Hervás has pointed out the Plan’s promotion strategy: “We are in the evolution of the Pain Plan, with a clear commitment to multidisciplinarity in treatment, early detection of pathologies and training and information for patients” .

“Perhaps the goal cannot be zero pain, but the minimum pain that enables a normal life”, added the general director of Health Care and Health Results.

María dels Ángeles García Rescalvo also insisted on the need to promote multidisciplinary units, who stressed: “Research needs to be developed to innovate in pain and collaboration with primary care needs to be improved, so that it is faster and agile”.

The same approach to improve coordination has been made by Beatriz Martínez Larios, who has asked for more staff and resources for Primary Care. “The impact of chronic pain on primary care clinics is a huge burden,” he remarked.

From left on the right, Ernesto Cervilla, Ignacio Velázquez, Maria dels Àngels García Rescalvo and Maria dels Àngels Fernández during the debate/EFE/José Manuel Vidal

Patient schools

Both María Ángeles García and Beatriz Martínez have opted for “patient schools” and their empowerment to collaborate in the management of the disease itself.

The representative of the patients, María de los Ángeles Fernández, pointed out: “The patient misses the lack of coordination, organization and planning with the associations” and stated that “the day-to-day life of patients with chronic pain is complex, hard and complicated”.

“The patient has no choice but to take the leap and be co-responsible, but agreements are needed with public administrations and doctors. The patient must feel a bond of respect and trust”, asked the president of the Rheumatoid Foundation.

The pharmacy in the Chronic Pain Plan in Andalusia

From the pharmaceutical sector, Ernesto Cervilla has shown willingness to collaborate with the Pain Plan and has requested communication with doctors, primary care and pain units.

“Pharmacy can help a lot to solve the problems of chronic pain,” he summarized.

All those attending this forum agreed on the need for patients to actively participate in the impetus that the Chronic Pain Plan will receive in Andalusia.

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