CPI (formerly Irish Chronic Pain Association) was founded in 1992 and since then has advocated strongly for better awareness, education and recognition of chronic pain. CPI has demonstrated professional leadership in Ireland and throughout Europe by drawing attention to Chronic Pain and promoting new and better methods of dealing with the disease.
The Irish Chronic Pain Association was founded in 1992 by a Consultant in Pain Medicine and a small group of his patients. The name was changed in 2009 to Chronic Pain Ireland (CPI). CPI is a registered charity and is run by a committee of volunteers. The principle aim of the organisation is to provide information and support to those living with chronic pain, their families and friends. In addition CPI campaigns for greater education and understanding within the medical profession and the public of the condition. CPI is a member of the heurological Alliance of Ireland and is also a member of Pain Alliance Europe.
Like most small charities CPI grew very slowly in its early years. However it should be borne in mind that awareness and understanding of chronic pain 25 years ago was almost close to zero except among healthcare professionals involved in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain and obviously among those suffering with this most complex medical condition. While there is a greater understanding and awareness of the condition today it is still a problem especially among some healthcare professionals.
Many previous Chairpersons and Governing Body members contributed to the growth and good reputation of CPI as a patient support organisation. A significant contributor was Gina Plunkett who joined the Governing Body of CPI in 1999 and within a few years the organisation was transformed and membership grew rapidly. Up to 2007 CPI relied on its own fundraising and also received some funding from a pharmaceutical company. In 2008 CPI applied for funding to the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and was successful in securing three year funding to cover core costs. That enabled the organisation to recruit a part time National coordinator, Christina Donnelly, who is still with the organisation today. CPI still receives funding from the department although the annual funding is less than that received in 2008.
The most important work carried out by CPI is the workshops on self management which are held Nationwide. The receipt of state funding coupled with increased support from the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors enabled the organisation to expand its workshops and reach out to approximately 500 people with chronic pain each year. These workshops are recognised as the best workshops on the self management of a long term medical condition. The Governing Body of CPI was strengthened by bringing on board people with specific skills. As a result CPI quickly became recognised as an excellent support organisation and its reputation as a first class patient support group extended right across Europe.
CPI was involved in the setting up of Pain Alliance Europe and Gina Plunkett was asked to be the first President but due to her other commitments she declined. CPI was also involved in the first Societal Impact of Pain Symposium (SIP) held in Brussels in 2010 and has been involved in subsequent symposia each year ever since. In 2011 Gina Plunkett addressed 300 people in the European Parliament on life as a chronic pain patient.
CPI for many years campaigned to have Pain Medicine recognised as a medical specialty and in 2012 supported the Faculty of Pain Medicine, College of Anaesthetists Ireland, in its application to the Medical Council for such recognition. In June 2014 the then Minister for Health, on the recommendation of the Irish Medical Council, signed into law Pain Medicine as a medical specialty. CPI has also campaigned to have Chronic Pain recognised as a disease in its own right and thanks to the trojan work of Prof. Dr, Rolf- Detlef Treede and his team Chronic Pain will be classified as a disease in June 2018 when the International Classification of Diseases (ICD 11) is published.
CPI continues to grow and is providing much needed support for people living with the condition.
13% of the Irish Population is living with Chronic Pain. European Average 19%. Of the 13%, one in five (20%) suffer from moderate to severe Chronic Pain. (Brevic H. et al 2006).
One in three respondents in the PRIME Study ( McGuire B et al 2010) indicated that they were living with Chronic Pain.
29% of people with Chronic Pain cannot work because of their condition.
42% of people with Chronic Pain think that others doubt the existence of their pain.
21% stated that the pain was so intense they wanted to die.
In the PRIME study 2% of those without chronic pain reported clinically significant levels of depression. However in chronic pain sufferers this rose to 15%.
The average cost to the economy is €5,665 per person per annum. However at the severe level it is €10, 454 per person per annum.
(McGuire B et al NUIG 2010)
Chronic Pain costs the Irish economy 2.55% of GDP (€4.76b per annum)
(Prof. Charles Normand TCD 2010).
Irish Medical Times 2010 Best Educational Project - General Practice/Pharmacy - Reeling in the Pain
Irish Healthcare Awards 2011 - Best Patient Educational Project - Can you Feel my Pain? Campaign.