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“Doc Talk” phone link-up
Sunday 23 December 2007
On Tuesday 27 November 2007, a two-hour teleconference for General Practitioners was convened by ME/CFS Australia (Victoria).
The conference followed the GP Conference & Exhibition on 16 - 18 November, where the Society arranged for all attendees to receive a copy of the Canadian Clinical Guideline Overview in their satchels.
The Jack Brockhoff Foundation funded the project as part of Link Up Plus.
Members have long requested initiatives that reach out to doctors and promote the Canadian Consensus Document. It was gratifying, therefore, to see the project taken up enthusiastically by many members and we thank them for their nominations of doctors to take part. There was a very good response from doctors themselves, many of whom expressed their keenness to learn more about ME/CFS.
The conference was led by Dr Don Lewis in tandem with Dr Nicole Phillips. Thanks to Joan Dickson who did an excellent job to facilitate the call.
This link-up call was a wonderful opportunity for General Practitioners across the state to share information and concerns and to benefit from receiving strategies for management and coping techniques, at the professional level.
The presentation focused on diagnosis, treatments and management of ME/CFS with strong reference to the Canadian Consensus Guidelines. The funding enabled each participant to be provided with this document, along with additional material prepared by Dr Lewis.
Dr Lewis spoke on the biomedical aspects and began by comparing the Fukuda Criteria (on which the RACP Guidelines are based) and the Canadian Clinical Guidelines. He illustrated how use of the Canadian Guidelines provided the GP with significant additional information for clinical diagnosis. He noted about 21 additional symptoms and the need to separate patients with ME/CFS symptoms from those with a psychiatric illness. There was good discussion on tests that provide better symptom diagnosis, and pharmaceuticals that can assist management.
Dr Phillips spoke out strongly about clear diagnostic differences between ME/CFS and mental illnesses. Both doctors spoke of the need for careful diagnosis and long term support and management for patients with the condition.
Dr Lewis and Dr Phillips devote many hours to seeing patients with ME/CFS and this move into GP education was further evidence of the commitment they have made to the Society and its members. There is every hope that the material can be made more widely available and used on other occasions.
This link-up involved many hours of work from volunteers at the Society. Special thanks to Jim Chambers (Hon Vice President), Nola Miles (Project Manager), Joan Dickson (Link Up Facilitator) and Nicci Baker (Link Up Plus Coordinator) for the time they put in.
Thanks to The Jack Brockhoff Foundation who have so generously supported Link Up and enabled “Doc Talk” to take place.