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IRELAND'S AGONY; A third of chronic pain cases take over a year to diagnose.

Byline: COLM KELPIE

MORE than a third of chronic pain sufferers wait a year for diagnosis, it emerged yesterday.

And one in three also fear the condition could cost them their jobs.

A report found 42% have endured pain for more than five years, with almost a quarter being accused of using the unrecognised syndrome to avoid work.

The Pain Proposal study branded the problem a "silent epidemic" and called for chronic pain to be treated like any other disease.

Dr Liam Conroy of the Irish Pain Society, who co-authored the report, said: "Throughout the continent there are issues about the recognition of chronic pain as a defined medical condition.

"Patients who suffer from chronic pain face unnecessary delays in the diagnosis and treatment of their condition.

"This has the effect of increasing not only healthcare costs, but also costs to the social welfare systems, insurance companies and employers."

The study was developed in collaboration with the Irish Pain Society, Chronic Pain Ireland and Arthritis Ireland.

Key findings include: THE average costs of chronic pain exceeds EUR6,000 per patient per year 53% believed their job prospects were affected by the condition 31% worried about losing their jobs, and 42% think others doubt the existence of their pain.

Gina Plunkett, of pressure group Chronic Pain Ireland, said: "The system is failing many people living with pain - preventing them from playing their full part in the nation's workforce."

EUR6,000

The average cost of treating a patient with chronic pain in Ireland every year
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Oct 27, 2010
Words:253
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