The Ministry of Science and Research of Hamburg, Germany, provided the necessary funding for EURONET-SOMA (full title: European Network to improve diagnostic, treatment and health care for patients with persistent somatic symptoms). This funding enabled us to invite an expert panel of 29 experienced researchers from 9 European countries (the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Latvia, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany and Russia) to participate in two three-day-workshop-conferences hosted at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany in July and November 2016.
EURONET-SOMA is a European expert network of clinicians and researchers. It aims to improve research, treatment, communication, and collaboration on persistent somatic symptoms across scientific disciplines and medical settings.
Persistent Somatic Symptoms (PSS) are frequently encountered in all medical settings. The term PSS is thereby used as an umbrella term to describe somatic complaints which are - irrespective of their etiology - distressing for the individual and have been present for at least several months. PSS are highly prevalent across Europe and pose a major challenge to all medical fields. They have substantial impact on patients and health services, causing significant disability, distress, and costs. Definitions and concepts of PSS vary between medical disciplines (e.g. somatic symptom disorder, functional somatic syndrome, bodily distress disorder, bodily distress syndrome). The mechanisms of symptom persistence are poorly understood and there is a lack of common standards for the management of PSS across Europe.
In order to achieve awareness for PSS in Europe, research of the EURONET-SOMA network aims to
EURONET-SOMA members are committed to contribute to training of clinicians and junior researchers, involvement of patients, information of the public, and development of innovative and easily accessible (e-health) interventions for PSS. We especially strive to make existing knowledge available to countries with less resources and infrastructure. All network members are committed to enhance clinical decision-making, health service utilization, and quality of life of patients with PSS across the lifespan and across disciplines and countries.