Bill Of Rights To Give Voice To 400,000 Irish People Living With Chronic Pain

Bill Of Rights To Give Voice To 400,000 Irish People Living With Chronic Pain

Irish Public Asked To Join Groundbreaking Campaign

Bill Of Rights To Give Voice To 400,000 Irish People Living With Chronic Pain

Bill Of Rights To Give Voice To 400,000 Irish People Living With Chronic Pain
Irish Public Asked To Join Groundbreaking Campaign

Dublin, 5th April 2011: Chronic Pain Ireland and Pfizer Healthcare Ireland have today announced its support for Can You Feel My Pain? - a new Europe-wide campaign which aims to raise awareness of the burden of chronic pain.

The far-reaching initiative seeks to give a voice to 13 per cent of the Irish population (400,000) who are living with the debilitating condition. 1

The campaign urges Governments and health systems across the continent to recognise the problem of unresolved pain and for it to be accepted as a genuine health priority.

A core outcome of the Europe-wide campaign is to drive change in health services through the development of a chronic pain Bill of Rights, shaped by those affected by chronic pain. The public are encouraged to show their support for change by signing the online Bill of Rights hosted on

Chronic Pain Ireland is aiming to obtain 5,000 signatures of support for the campaign which will be presented to the Dail alongside a recent hard hitting report (Pain Proposal) into the impact of chronic pain in Ireland. Together, it is hoped that this will promote change to ensure that the right patient receives the right treatment at the right time.

Despite the burden that chronic pain places on individuals and their families, healthcare systems, employers and the economy, it is not yet formally recognized as a disease in its own right or as a medical specialty in Europe.

The awareness programme is also supported by leading patient advocacy groups including Arthritis Ireland, Ankylosing Spondylitis Association of Ireland and MS Ireland. Patient support organisations across Europe have also joined up to fight for this recognition.

Developed by European patient organisations including Chronic Pain Ireland, the Bill of Rights outlines five key rights that campaigners believe will improve the lives of those affected by chronic pain. These include:

  • Right to be Understood;
  • Right of Access to Information;
  • Right to Professional Support;
  • Right to Early Intervention and Optimal Pain Management;
  • Right of Pain Relief as a Fundamental Human Right

Ms Gina Plunkett, Chairperson of Chronic Pain Ireland says: “Chronic pain affects many people and the lack of awareness of Chronic Pain is unacceptable leading to serious issues and problems for individuals, for carers and for society as a whole. Our hope is that giving a new, shared voice to people affected by chronic pain will give us a fresh impetus for action.

“We are appealing to individuals, carers and other advocacy groups to speak out for the rights and needs of people with chronic pain, by pledging their support for the Bill of Rights today”

Mr David Gallagher, Managing Director, Pfizer Healthcare Ireland says: “Pfizer is proud to be partnering with Chronic Pain Ireland and Arthritis Ireland on the Can You Feel My Pain? campaign and to be part of the call for greater recognition and acceptance of the rights of people living with, and affected by chronic pain.”

The impact of chronic pain is widespread. According to the Irish Pain Proposal report, more than fifty percent of chronic pain sufferers felt their chronic pain impacted directly on their employment status and 31% worry about losing their jobs.3 Chronic pain is also associated with a loss of mobility and depression.3 The report argues that treating chronic pain with the same seriousness afforded to other major conditions or disease, can deliver both cost savings and better outcomes for patients through more efficient pain management.

Eimear Kearney, who suffers from chronic pain for almost a decade pointed out that: “Living with chronic pain can be isolating and frustrating and sometimes I feel like no one understands it. The “Can You Feel My Pain?” campaign will give me an opportunity to reach out to other people with chronic pain across Ireland. By sharing our stories and encouraging the public to sign up to support the Bill of Rights we can fight for change for people in our situation.”

To show your support for people living in chronic pain and to sign up for change, please visit

Annalisa Flanagan,36, Co. Down, holder of the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s loudest shout, joined forces today with former Ireland Rugby International Malcolm O’Kelly and Eimear Kearney,32, who suffers from chronic pain, to launch a new health awareness campaign entitled Can You Feel My Pain?.

The trio have come together to ‘call’ on the Irish public to visit and sign a petition supporting the rights of Irish people living with chronic pain. The campaign target is 5,000 petition signatures which will be presented to Dail Eireann along with a report on the condition. The campaign is being launched nationally by Chronic Pain Ireland with support from Pfizer Healthcare Ireland.

Published: 5th April 2011.

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