RSM Conference: brief report from organiser

A brief report following the RSM CFS Conference from protest organiser, Gus Ryan

I arrived with Ciaran Farrell, author of the RSM protest group letter, at about 11am.

Immediately upon arrival we noticed that the Henrietta Street entrance was shut and two guards were inside the RSM’s Wimpole Street entrance.

Annette Barclay, one of the people who signed the RSM letter, arrived at about 12:30pm.

The presentation of the two letters took place outside the Wimpole Street entrance at just after 1pm. Jo Parkinson of the RSM accepted the letter on behalf of the RSM protest group and the letter from Sheila Barry

Copies of the RSM protest letter were handed out to anyone who was willing to accept it and placards hopefully told the public why people were not very happy with the conference.

Faces that were recognised attending the conference were Tony Britton and Sir Peter Spencer. One person said she saw Simon Wessely in the morning and a number of us thought we spotted him in the afternoon. Tony Britton spoke to some of the group but Sir Peter Spencer hurried past us.

Oddly enough, none of us saw Wessely leave. However when heading home, Ciaran and me spotted the Henrietta Street entrance open – the members entrance.

All in all, about fifteen people attended the protest but there were no more than about ten present at any one given time.

During the afternoon and quite unexpectedly, the RSM sent out a trolly laden with tea, coffee and biscuits for the protestors.

A number of people stopped and looked at the placards and a few chatted to the protestors. I talked with a student attending the RSM about the controversy over the role of mental health in M.E. He seemed very understanding. However I did enter into a slightly heated discussion with someone else attending the conference who was extolling the virtues of CBT. I pointed out to him that despite having a diagnosis of M.E., I also had a psychiatrist’s letter stating I didn’t have mental health problems. He didn’t really give me an answer. In the process, he asked for my video camera to be switched off.

I hope to have a video ready within a few days.

Gus Ryan


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