Archive for the Invest in ME Category

Bristol RSM Conference: Where’s the action?

Posted in 25% ME Group, AfME/Action for ME, AYME, CBT/GET, Invest in ME, ME Association, NICE CFS/ME guideline, Prof Peter White, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal Society of Medicine, The Young ME Sufferers Trust on September 18, 2008 by meagenda

Bristol RSM Conference: Where’s the action?

Before the controversial RSM’s London CFS Conference had taken place in April, it was already known that a regional one day conference on CFS had been scheduled by the Royal Society of Medicine Wessex Region for Bristol, for 18 September.

This conference takes place today and once again is intended for medical and allied health professionals, only.

I had been alerted to this event by Neil Riley, Chair of the ME Association Board of Trustees, on 13 April.

I flagged up this regional conference in a posting on Read ME UK Events site on the same day; the site received just under 3000 hits during the month of April, alone.

Since then, I have flagged up this Bristol conference several times on both Read ME UK Events and ME agenda site.

I have also put out a copy of the Agenda for tomorrow’s conference on the Co-Cure mailing list together with the Agenda for a conference on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Children and Young People by the Royal College of Psychiatrists South West Division Training being held in Devon, on 24 October.

Dr Esther Crawley, who was a member of the NICE Guideline Development Group, will be presenting at both the RSM’s Bristol conference and the Royal College of Psychiatrists conference. 
Click here for Agendas for these meetings.

In the run up to the RSM’s London CFS Conference, I had launched a Postcard Campaign to help raise awareness of the conference itself and to encourage the ME community to write in to the RSM and express their concerns. This was just one of a number of initiatives around this conference.

I’ve already mentioned, here, that unfortunately due to personal circumstances I have not been in a position to undertake a Postcard Campaign for the Bristol CFS Conference.

Given the interest in the RSM’s London conference in April, the ME community and the organisations which represent our interests have been notably subdued about the conference taking place tomorrow.

Although this is a regional conference it has implications for all of us in the UK, and internationally. There are many of us who consider that the influence of Professor Peter Denton White is equal to that of Professor Simon Wessely, and Professor White is giving the same presentation in Bristol that he gave in London, in April. There is also a presentation on behalf of NICE.

But as a regional conference, it has particular relevance to residents of the Bristol area for it is their medical professionals – their local GPs, medical trainees and allied health professionals – whose bums will be on the seats at UBHT Education Centre, tomorrow.

To the best of my knowledge no position statement has been issued by the Bristol ME Support Group whose members are amongst those for whom this conference has most relevance. On Saturday, I contacted the Bristol ME Support Group to ask what the Group’s position on this conference is, whether they had issued a position statement and whether the group were taking any action or had written to the media or to the RSM?

I’ve received no response so far on behalf of the group.

In March/April, AfME had issued a statement about Sir Peter Spencer’s participation in the London RSM Conference and this was followed by responses in the form of position statements from the ME Association, The 25% ME Group, The Young ME Sufferers Trust and Invest in ME. Full copies of all these positions statements were posted on both blogs and extracts were included in the “On a Postcard, please” Campaign Flyer. Paul Davis of RiME also provided a brief position statement specifically for inclusion in the Flyer.

Our patient organisations have also been notably muted on the issue of this Bristol conference.

Yesterday I contacted the ME Association, The Young ME Sufferers Trust, The 25% ME Group and Invest in ME to enquire whether any of these organisations have issued or intend to issue position statements on the Bristol conference or have made any arrangements for material to be handed out to conference attendees.

I will post any responses I receive as they come in.

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Update on the RSM’s “Medicine and Me” conference

Posted in AfME/Action for ME, AYME, Invest in ME, ME Association, Royal Society of Medicine, The Young ME Sufferers Trust, Uncategorized on September 9, 2008 by meagenda

Update on the planning of the Royal Society of Medicine’s “Medicine and Me” conference

Note that this proposed event at the RSM’s London conference venue would be one in a series of “Medicine and Me” events for topics around various medical conditions aimed at patient group participation held by the RSM, over the past few years. The title does not refer to “Medicine and M.E.” so this meeting would, ironically, be a “Medicine and Me” event on “CFS” or possibly “CFS/ME”, though the RSM did not use the terms “CFS/ME”, “ME/CFS” or “ME” in its April “CFS” Conference.

Further information about the format of these patient events, which in the past, have been held in association with just one patient organisation, not several, can be found here

Some information about this event is beginning to trickle out. In the summary of its September Board meeting, the ME Association reports:

ROYAL SOCIETY OF MEDICINE (RSM) – 2009 MEDICAL MEETING FOR PEOPLE WITH ME: Charles Shepherd, along with representatives from four other national support charities (AfME, AYME, Tymes Trust, 25% Group), will be attending a further planning meeting at the RSM on Thursday September 4th. At present, it looks as though this half day meeting aimed at people with ME, and planned by people with ME and charity representatives, will be taking place in Spring or early Summer 2009. The planning meeting will be deciding on the content of the paired presentations part of the programme and the choice of medical speakers who will be invited to participate.”

Meanwhile, Invest in ME has concerns about the selection process through which organisations were invited to participate in the planning of this event and the rejection of its offer to participate in the planning stages of this event.  In its September newsletter, Invest in ME reports:

RSM – Medicine and ME

“After the Royal Society of Medicine announced their intention to hold a conference on CFS in April Invest in ME contacted the then President of the RSM, Baroness Finlay, and passed to her factual information regarding ME/CFS. We also invited her to our London conference and offered help in planning a Medicine and ME conference which we were told the RSM was considering.

“We contacted the Baroness again in July and our letter was passed to Dr John Scadding.

“Dr Scadding replied to our offer to help by stating that only the following organisations were to be invited to be in the planning of this event – the 25% Group, AfME, AYME, MEA and Tymes Trust.

“We replied to Dr Scadding that we thought we could offer valuable experience in planning such an event and have been working on behalf of patients contacting us for help. We weren’t sure why those organisations alone were chosen or why an arbitrary number of organisations seems to have been invited.

“Dr Scadding rejected our offer, having “sought the advice of a number of others”. We can only guess who these “others” are who are advising him.

“Dr Scadding went on to describe the reasons for IiME’s exclusion as –

“… 1. The group is already very large, with the 5 patient charities, patients with CFS / ME and the necessary RSM staff. Very large groups often have difficulty in reaching a consensus in a committee situation. I have planned many Medicine and Me meetings, usually in partnership with just one patient charity / support group. Patients attending the subsequent Medicine and Me meetings have not complained of bias or exclusion of their interests.

2. I am reasonably confident that the group is representative of CFS / ME sufferers overall, and that no interests will be forgotten, excluded or ignored.

3. The programme for the Medicine and Me conference must be driven by the patients on the planning group.

I think we need to be realistic about what can be achieved in a Medicine and Me meeting. It lasts only about three and a half to four hours. Three or four key areas of interest are nominated by the patients on the planning group; patients speak first on these and each is followed by an expert response. The topics may be about diagnosis, research, treatments, access to treatment, stigma, prognosis, etc etc. During the concluding lengthy panel discussion, any matter of concern about the condition to those in the audience can be raised, not just those forming the focus of the patient presentations.

It is clearly impossible in the time available during the meeting to cover every aspect of any disease, and patients have often requested further meetings (which we are happy to consider, but we need to be mindful of the multitude of chronic diseases that exist, each deserving of a Medicine and Me meeting).

I cannot predict at this stage the topics that will be chosen within CFS / ME to form the focus of the Medicine and Me meeting, but if you would like to make some suggestions now, I would be very pleased to float these at the planning group meeting.

I am aware of the interest of Invest in ME in promoting biomedical research, and I am sure this will be discussed. Indeed, it may well be that this is one of the topics chosen, but that is for patients to decide…”

As far as I can tell, the RSM has not made webcasts and PowerPoint presentations of previous “Medicine and ME” events available on its website, as it did following its “CFS” Conference, in response to pressure from the ME community.

Many of those who would have liked to have attended this “Medicine and ME” event will be disenfranchised because they are too unwell to travel, because of the cost of travel and conference tickets or because like me, they have committments as carers.

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