Royal Society of Medicine Conference: 28 April, AfME statement

To express your concerns to AfME contact:

Sir Peter Spencer 

Trish Taylor

For Conference programme click here

From Action for ME (AfME) news pages

RSM conference

08 February 2008

Action for M.E. Chief Executive, Peter Spencer, will be one of the speakers at a conference of healthcare professionals at the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) in London, 28 April 2008.

The RSM says the aim of the meeting is to take a broad look at chronic fatigue syndrome, examining its nature and definition, pathophysiology, epidemiology, clinical assessment and diagnosis, the patient perspective, and various approaches to treatment. It says: This is a scientific conference and there will be an emphasis on an evidence-based approach throughout.

The final programme says:

“Chronic fatigue syndrome is a common and debilitating illness which can persist for years. Despite extensive research, the nature and pathogenesis of the condition remain enigmatic. There is continuing uncertainty and controversy concerning the physical and psychological components that may contribute to the initiation and perpetuation of the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

“Those attending the meeting will gain understanding of the various aspects of CFS being discussed, and be better able to help people suffering from this disabling condition. The conference is intended for all health professionals who are involved in the assessment and treatment of those with CFS.” [End of quote]

The inclusion of a number of psychiatrists in the programme, such as Professor Simon Wessley of King’s College London, who is giving a talk on epidemiology, will be controversial amongst some patient groups – but Peter Spencer has no qualms about attending the event to ensure the patient perspective is on the agenda.

“It is better to have balanced debate than for different factions to exist in parallel worlds, where they do not engage in dialogue or work together to increase our understanding of this debilitating illness.

“On this occasion I will have a great opportunity to set out the serious concerns that we and our members have about the way in which evidence-based principles have produced very dubious outcomes when only a very tiny amount of so-called “gold standard” data is available from randomised controlled trials.”

After a welcome address by Dr John Scadding, Dean, Royal Society of Medicine, who will Chair the first session of talks, questions and answers. Professor Peter White, Barts will lead a session on What is CFS and what is M.E.? Dr Anthony Cleare, Institute of Psychiatry, will discuss Pathophysiology. Action for M.E.’s principal medical adviser, Professor Anthony Pinching, will chair a session opened by Professor Chris Dowrick, University of Liverpool, on Assessment: the GP’sapproach. Another session, Assessment: the psychiatrist’s approach, will be presented by Professor Matthew Hotopf, Institute of Psychiatry.

The first afternoon session, which Peter Spencer will open, will be Chaired by Professor Mansel Aylward, Unum Provident Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research, Cardiff University. Delegates will hear about Management: the NICE Guidelines, from Professor Richard Baker, Leicester University. The final session of the day, Chaired by Professor Kam Bhui, Department of Psychiatry, Queen Mary School of Medicine and Dentistry, will look at CBT and GET with Professor Rona Moss-Morris, University of Southampton and What drugs can I use?, with Dr Alastair Miller, Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

Royal Society of Medicine Website and Conference programme


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