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HFHR revisits issue of pain management, approaches Ministry of Health

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent another letter to the Minister of Health, calling for improving access to effective pain management solutions at health care institutions. Poland is one of the countries of the lowest opioid drug use. Moreover, the country has yet to adopt a quality control system of pain management.

The HFHR first approached the Minister of Health in 2013. The Foundation also conducted a pain management survey across 16 provincial hospitals and 32 surgical units of district hospitals. As the responses to the survey received from 15 institutions suggest, there are only a few hospitals where internal pain management procedures have been developed. Not all hospitals collect information about the number of patients treated with opioid drugs.

Last year, the Ministry of Health took a series of measures aimed to improve pain management schemes. In June 2014, the Ministry informed the HFHR that it sent letters to doctors serving as national and provincial consultants, calling for the improvement of access to effective pain management solutions, including treatments that involve the use of opioid drugs.

According to the HFHR, it is necessary to introduce a system for monitoring pain management, in addition to educational activities. The HFHR asked the Ministry about the measures it had taken in the last months aiming to introduce an effective quality control mechanism for pain management.

“From the perspective of a human rights advocacy organisation, access to proper health care, including pain management schemes, remains at heart of the state’s obligations to safeguard the fundamental rights and freedoms. A failure to develop an effective system of pain management means that the state fails to perform the obligations imposed by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and, in particular, those enshrined in Article 3, which prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment”, the letter addressed to the Ministry reads.

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