Scottish Good Practice Statement and conference: Update

Scottish Good Practice Statement and conference: Update on availability of document and conference postponement

On 22 July, I contacted Action for M.E.’s Heather Walker for an update on the status of this publication.

Action for M.E. had previously reported that a proof copy of the document was press launched in the Scottish Parliament on 14 May and that:

“The proof copy produced for the launch will now be finalised for distribution to GPs and other healthcare professionals and it will shortly be made available online and in hard copy to people with M.E. and others.

“The guide will also be the subject of a one-day training conference for GPs and other medical professionals and academics on Wednesday 9 September.”

I have received no response from Heather Walker, but Action for M.E. published the following update on its News Page on 31 July: 

Scottish Good Practice Statement and conference
31 July 2009

Good practice in ME-CFS, the conference to launch the Scottish Good Practice Statement, due to take place in Glasgow, 9 September, will be rescheduled because of swine flu.

Action for M.E. raised concerns about the impact of the pandemic with the Scottish Government on 16 July, after reports that GP surgeries could be overwhelmed with patients as swine flu spread and vaccinations became available.

Will Scott, Long Term Unit, Scottish Government Health Directorates, agreed that a conference for GPs is unlikely to be well attended until the pandemic has passed. There would also be concerns about any risk to the health of people with M.E. attending the event.

Dr Gregor Purdie, lead author of the Statement, concurred on his return from holiday.

The delay, although unfortunate, does allow more time for medical peer review, which has not progressed as quickly as hoped during the summer holiday period.

The September date may be used instead for a meeting of a professional peer-review reference group, which could help to ensure that the Statement has the endorsement of key Scottish medical organisations.

So far the Statement has been through three rounds of consultation, which Action for M.E. has facilitated.

Dr Purdie has made substantial revisions at each stage.

The latest draft was produced after a special meeting of the Cross Party Group in May, which was well attended by people with M.E. and carers.

As a number of changes were suggested at the meeting, Dr Purdie said that a further round of professional review would need to take place.

The Statement was then sent to a number healthcare professionals, academics and professional bodies in Scotland for consultation. It was also available as a press proof copy at an event in the Scottish Parliament during M.E. Awareness Week.

The professional peer review reference group will be asked to focus on how to make the Statement as useful as possible to GPs, in particular by looking at the inclusion of a diagnostic and/or therapeutic algorithm – a stepped series of instructions – probably in the form of a diagram, which may also form the basis of a laminated reference card.

For the full write-up of the 14 May press launch and round up of other Scottish issues see ME agenda posting:

Round up of Scottish ME and CFS issues