The History of Chronic Pain Ireland

Chronic Pain Ireland (formerly Irish Chronic Pain Association) was founded in 1992 and since then has advocated strongly for better awareness, education and recognition of chronic pain.

The organisation was originally founded by a Consultant in Pain Medicine and a small group of patients. In 2009, the name was changed to Chronic Pain Ireland.

Chronic Pain Ireland has consistently demonstrated professional leadership in Ireland and throughout Europe by drawing attention to chronic pain, whilst promoting new and better methods of dealing with the disease.

Chronic Pain Ireland is a registered charity and is run by a Board of Trustees.

Advocating on behalf of people with chronic pain

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, Chronic Pain Ireland campaigns for greater education and understanding within the medical profession and the public of the condition.

Chronic Pain Ireland is a member of:

    • Societal Impact of Pain (SIP)
    • Pain Alliance Europe
    • Irish Platform for Patient Organisations, Science and Industry
    • Neurological Alliance of Ireland
    • Carmichael Ireland
    • The Wheel

Like most small charities Chronic Pain Ireland grew very slowly in its early years. However, it should be borne in mind that awareness and understanding of chronic pain at that time was almost close to zero except among healthcare professionals involved in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain and 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.

Funding the work of Chronic Pain Ireland

Many previous Chairpersons and Board members contributed to the growth and good reputation of Chronic Pain Ireland as a patient support organisation. Up to 2007, Chronic Pain Ireland relied on its own fundraising and also received some funding from a pharmaceutical company. In 2008, Chronic Pain Ireland applied for funding to the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and was successful in securing 3-year funding to cover core costs. That enabled the organisation to recruit a part-time National Coordinator, who is still with the organisation today. Chronic Pain Ireland gratefully acknowledges the Scheme to Support National Organisations is funded by the Government of Ireland through the Department of Rural and Community Development 2022-2025.

The most important work carried out by Chronic Pain Ireland 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. Chronic Pain Ireland gratefully acknowledges the ongoing grant funding and support of the Hospital Saturday Fund.

Chronic Pain Ireland’s advocacy work in Europe

The Board of Chronic Pain Ireland was strengthened by the specific skills of board members. As a result, Chronic Pain Ireland quickly became recognised as an excellent support organisation and its reputation as a first class patient support group extended right across Europe.

Chronic Pain Ireland 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 Chronic Pain Ireland Chairpersons have advocated throughout the years by addressing the European Parliament, MEP’s, TD’s, Oireachtas Committee on Health & Children, Department of Health and much more.

Campaign for recognition of Pain Medicine as a medical specialty in Ireland

For many years, Chronic Pain Ireland campaigned to have Pain Medicine recognised as a medical specialty. In 2012, Chronic Pain Ireland supported the Faculty of Pain Medicine, College of Anaesthetists Ireland, in its application to the Medical Council for such recognition.

The purpose of the application was to regulate and enhance the education of medical practitioners in Pain Medicine and to have the condition of Chronic Pain recognised as a separate medical entity. Chronic Pain Ireland declared its support of the application because it would create a greater awareness of the condition and make accessing help more straightforward. In 2014, the Irish Medical Council announced that the process had been successfully completed and that it had written to the Minister for Health and Children with a recommendation that Pain Medicine be declared a Medical Specialty.

On the 5th June 2014, the Minister for Health and Children signed the declaration into law under the Medical Practitioners Act 2007. Only practitioners entered on the Register of Medical Specialties can practice pain medicine in Ireland.  The Faculty of Pain Medicine, College of Anaesthetists Ireland has sole responsibility for the education and training of Specialists in Pain Medicine.

Campaign for recognition of chronic pain as a disease

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

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