Fighting Discrimination at Work was the theme for the latest meeting of EFNA’s MEP Interest Group on Brain Mind and Pain, which took place in the European Parliament on March 6th.
It was opened by Dutch MEP, Jeroen Lenaers who reminded participants that the EC President, Jean-Claude Junker, said that Europe should not just have a financial AAA rank, but also a social one.
EFNA President – and meeting chairperson – Joke Jaarsma said, ‘The level of stigma associated with many neurological disorders is very serious and can influence employment opportunities. It is important to understand that by keeping people at work longer, we can reduce the economic impact – but also improve the quality of life of those affected.’
EFNA believes that doctors, too, have a role to play here by ensuring that workability is considered as an outcome of treatment. It is, in fact, often a patient prioritized outcome.
The event’s speakers focused on the challenges of working with a neurological disorder, from the patient and carer perspective, with case-studies presented in the field of migraine, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.
The keynote speaker – Emmanuelle Grange, Head of Unit, Disability and Inclusion in DG Employment – talked about how EU policy could be better leveraged to ensure that discrimination at work was lessened for those living and working with neurological disorders. She pointed to the EU Disability Strategy, the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Accessibility Act and the Directive on Equal Access to Employment.However, she stressed that the EU member states have their own ways of defining and measuring disability, which can hinder the application of such EU laws.
Joke Jaarsma ended the meeting by saying the MEP Interest Group would continue in the next political mandate (2019-2024) with a focus on:
- Fighting stigma, isolation and discrimination
- Ensuring equitable access to treatment, services and supports
- Promoting patient empowerment for increased involvement and engagement
EFNA is working on new policy documents which set out the challenges and recommended solutions in these areas for neurology patients and the wider community in Europe. EAN has contributed/endorsed and links to these texts will be available in the next newsletter.
To read the full meeting report and access the presentations, visit www.brainmindpain.eu.