The need for a national strategy for chronic pain management in Ireland

Ir J Med Sci. 2006 Apr-Jun;175(2):68-73. doi: 10.1007/BF03167954.


Background: Chronic pain is defined as pain on a daily basis for more than six months. It affects 13% of the Irish population. Despite its prevalence and the impact on patient's quality of life there is no national strategy for this problem.

Aim: To determine the need for a national strategy for chronic pain in Ireland.

Methods: The cost of low back pain (LBP) (common chronic pain condition), the level of education and research and current chronic pain clinic resources were investigated.

Results: The cost of LBP in Ireland is enormous: disability payments from the Department of Social and Family Affairs amounted to euros 348 million and insurance payments cost euros 10.5 million. The number of teaching hours timetabled for pain education in the schools of Medicine, Physiotherapy, Dentistry, Nursing and Psychology in Ireland's six universities varied significantly (e.g. 11.5-72 hrs in nursing). Research grants awarded from state organisations were limited to one over a four-year period. No current chronic pain clinics comply with recommended International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) guidelines.

Conclusion: A national strategy is needed to reduce costs, standardise teaching and increase pain clinic resources to maximise patient care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Education, Graduate
  • Federal Government
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand* / economics
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Disability / economics
  • Ireland
  • Pain / economics
  • Pain Management*
  • Research