MEA issues revised statement on RSM Conference

Today, the ME Association has issued a revision to an earlier statement which confirms the Royal Society of Medicine’s volte-face regarding the organisation’s request to have a stand at the CFS Conference on 28 April. The MEA is aware that the Planning Committee for this conference included Professor Peter White, Professor Simon Wessley, Professor Kam Bhui and Professor Matthew Hotopf – so it isn’t too difficult to understand why there is such a predominance of speakers from a psychiatric/psychological background.

The RSM has said “The RSM went through a process of establishing a planning group to discuss the content of this conference well over a year ago. The programme is now fixed and speakers have been engaged for some considerable time and it is too late to change the programme.”

It would be interesting to know whose initiative this conference was and who was responsible for the drawing up and selection of the members of the conference Planning Committee. Dr John Scadding Chairs the Planning Committee.

Royal Society of Medicine meeting on CFS/ME – 28 April 2008
Statement by The ME Association

25 March 2008

The ME Association fully shares the concerns of a growing number of our members who have been contacting us about the strong psychiatric/psychological bias to the presentations that will be given to a meeting on CFS at the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) on April 28.

When we were first contacted about this meeting by the RSM we included details on our website and in our magazine ‘Events Diary’ – as we believe everyone should be made aware of meetings and conferences that may be of interest to both people with ME/CFS and to health professionals.

We then asked the RSM if it would be possible for the MEA to have a stand at the conference in order to provide some balanced information. Our request for a stand, for which we were willing to pay, was initially turned down by the RSM.

We have just been informed that the RSM has changed its mind and that we shall now be able to provide information to attendees at this Conference. The trustees thought long and hard about whether, by attending this meeting, we were in any way endorsing it. Let me assure you, that is not our intention. Our judgement is that it is better to be at this meeting and provide balanced information to the attendees than to leave them to hear the overwhelmingly psychiatric / psychological views of the speakers at this meeting.

We shall provide information and offer discussion on:

  • research and the need for further biomedical research.
  • management of the illness, especially activity/energy management
  • why we are unable to endorse the NICE guideline
  • occupational health issues-as an alternative to the unbalanced information from NHS Plus.

It is hard to understand why the RSM has failed to grasp the opportunity to put on a meeting that really does take a broad look at an illness that is classified as neurological by the World Health Organisation. Our attendance at the meeting is an opportunity to redress the balance.

Neil Riley
Chairman of the ME Association


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