Ed: The opinions expressed in the commentary below are those of Dr John Greensmith on behalf of ME Free For All.
From ME Free For All.org
Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) Conference, ‘Chronic fatigue Syndrome’, Bristol, 18 September 2008 – Eve of Conference Open Letter, ME Free For All. org
The Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) Conference, ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’, held in London on 28 April 2008, drew an unprecedented amount of correspondence expressing serious concerns – principally: an overwhelming bias towards speakers, who are psychiatrists, or who favour the psychosocial model of M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis); patients or their representatives not being allowed to attend; a dominant preference for the term Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for M.E., when they are not the same illnesses, nor should be treated in the same way; and recommendation of the treatments Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Graded Exercise Treatment (GET), which are ineffective or sometimes irrecoverably harmful, to which all funding goes, leaving promising biomedical research starved of money and dependent on charity, thus delaying an effective treatment or cure – and there was a peaceful protest of about 16, some in wheelchairs, outside its entrance, on the day.
That there has been nothing like the volume of letters about an identically titled Conference in Bristol on 18 September 2008 and that there will not be any M.E. sufferers at the door, should not be interpreted by the RSM, the M.E. Community of sufferers, their carers, doctors and researchers, the Media or the wider general public as apathy and certainly not as a change of opinion to coincide with the organisers of, or the speakers at, these conferences.
The more likely and quite understandable, reason for there being not only at least the same number of organisations and individuals writing again but new people adding to the postbag is that they have nothing different or new to add and repetition would fall on the same deaf ears as last time. There have been strenuous efforts to organise a similar demonstration of disapproval on the day but it is not difficult to see that, if the vast majority of M.E. sufferers are unable to travel to work or school and a significant proportion cannot get out of their beds or their houses on any day of the year, they won’t be able to travel to this venue for the same reason. It is a matter of inability, not unwillingness.
ME Free For All. org is not able to stand outside the Conference and is not invited in. Nor do we have anything new to add, since the last Conference but we do wish to express our disapproval of this Conference, with equal vehemence, in perhaps the most economical way: ‘For “London” read “Bristol”.’
Dr John H Greensmith
ME Free For All. org
See also entries at: