About Us

Established in 1992, Chronic Pain Ireland is the national organisation providing information and support services to people living with Chronic Pain.

We are a registered charity, and we work with all stakeholders including those living with chronic pain, their families and carers, health professionals, students, researchers and others interested in chronic pain.

CPI has demonstrated professional leadership in Ireland and throughout Europe by raising awareness of chronic pain, educating in methods of dealing with the condition, and advocating for the needs of people living in chronic pain.

We advocate for multi-disciplinary treatment centres, improved health services and changes to the educational curriculum so that healthcare providers are more aware of the condition and the challenges of diagnosing, treating and managing the condition.

We adhere to the principles of good corporate governance.  We are transparent and compliant with all regulatory requirements.

Strategic Objectives

Advocacy & Awareness

Member Engagement & Education

Research

Funding

Governance & Compliance

Strategic Objective 1 – Advocacy & Awareness

Overall Aim: CPI will advocate as a voice for people living with chronic pain in Ireland.  We aim to support our members and nurture those living with the condition and their families through empathy, listening, guidance and information provision and to advocate within the wider community.

Specific Aims:

  1. Raise awareness of CPI, its vision, mission and aim, for those living with Chronic Pain, amongst their families, employers, healthcare providers and our wider communities in general.
  2. Continue to develop CPI’s desired advocacy impacts in line with the wants, needs and requirements of our members.
  3. Work both independently and in partnership with decision makers and organisations to positively influence policy and attitudes in all areas impacting the lives of people with chronic pain.
  4. Research and identify international best practice in advocacy generally and advocating for the implications of living with chronic pain specifically.
Strategic Objective 2 – Member Engagement and Education

Overall Aim:

To continue to engage members and expand support and education services nationally to those living with chronic pain, their families, friends, caregivers and other interested parties.    

Specific Aims:

  1. Continue to provide and develop further essential support services (phone line, website member events).
  2. Explore alternative methods of membership engagement to support member empowerment and self-management. 
  3. Diversify current education services in a variety of settings including community, healthcare provider and other settings.
Strategic Objective 3 – Research

Overall Aim: To drive and participate in research concerning all aspects of life with chronic pain.

Specific Aims:

  1. Develop and maintain open relationships with the research community.
  2. Harness the involvement of patient voice at all stages of research.
  3. Maximise use of research findings to achieve other strategic goals.
Strategic Objective 4 – Funding

Overall Aim:  To continue to secure grant and donor funding and explore other options for the benefit of our members and the services we provide.

Strategic Objective 5 – Governance & Compliance

Overall Aim: To continue to uphold proper governance and regulation of CPI ensuring compliance with relevant regulatory and statutory bodies.

Specific Aims:

To comply with all voluntary, statutory and regulatory requirements, showing full transparency in all activities.

Become A Member or Renew Your Membership

Our Team

Martina Phelan

Martina Phelan

Chairperson

Michelle Wallace

Michelle Wallace

National Secretary/National Treasurer

Paul Tuhill

Paul Tuhill

CPI Governing Body Member

Louise Riordan

Louise Riordan

Board Member

John Kenny

John Kenny

Board Member.

Julia O'Connor

Julia O'Connor

Board Member

Niamh Walsh

Niamh Walsh

Board Member

Christina Donnelly

Christina Donnelly

Staff National Co-Ordinator

History

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, caregivers 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 Neurological Alliance of Ireland, Irish Platform for Patient Organisations, Science and Industry, Carmichael, The Wheel and is also a member of Pain Alliance Europe.

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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 29 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 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.  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, who is still with the organisation today.  CPI gratefully acknowledges the Scheme to Support National Organisations is funded by the Government of Ireland through the Department of Rural and Community Development 2019-2022.

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.  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 was also involved in the first Societal Impact of Pain Symposium (SIP) held in Brussels in 2010 and has been active in subsequent symposia each year ever since. Various CPI Chairperson’s have advocated throughout the years addressing the European Parliament, MEP’s, TD’s, Oireachtas Committee on Health & Children, Department of Health and much more. 

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 classified as a disease in June 2018 when the International Classification of Diseases (ICD 11) was published.

Statistics

CPI continues to grow and is providing much needed support for people living with the condition.

%

of people with Chronic Pain cannot work because of their condition

%

of people with Chronic Pain think that others doubt the existence of their pain

%

stated that the pain was so intense they wanted to die

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. 

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).

Awards

Brain, Mind Pain Grant 2022-2023

awarded to Prof. Kieran O’Sullivan and Abigail Browne of the University of Limerick, Ireland in partnership with Chronic Pain Ireland for CBT-I World Café project

Irish Enterprise Awards 2021

Best Chronic Pain Management Advisory Service.

Brain, Mind Pain Grant 2019-2020

awarded to V. Vasiliou, School Applied Psychology UCC in partnership with Chronic Pain Ireland, ASPida project.

Irish Healthcare Awards 2017

Best Patient Education Project of the Year “My Pain Feels Like”.

Carmichael

Good Governance Awards 2017 – Joint Runner up of Category 1.

Irish Healthcare Awards 2011

Best Patient Educational Project – Can you Feel my Pain? Campaign.

Irish Medical Times 2010 Best Educational Project

General Practice/Pharmacy – Reeling in the Pain.

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