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Report from the BSR 2009 Conference

BSR 2009On Monday the 27th April we began the process of setting up the stand for the coming four days. It was interesting to see the big empty hall5 at the SECC transform into a slick professional medical conference. Our stall which was of course modest in comparison to the drug companies efforts still managed to carve out a noticeable corner on one of the main walkways.

Over the course of the week we did receive quite a few comments on our presentation with some coming to see what  the yellow and black colours meant from across the hall.

FMA UK made the decision to attend medical professional conferences with the aim of communicating our message to the people  that shape fibromyalgia treatment. Talking to Rheumatologists and Nurse Specialists as well as other medical professionals allows us to raise awareness among this group as well as find out useful information about relevant services around the country.

This conference produced a good result in line with those aims. We managed to speak to many clinicians and researchers and have found out about interesting research both published and underway. There are more fibromyalgia courses coming on stream around the country and more in the planning. There were 3 papers on fibromyalgia presented at this conferences as well as a talk at one of the special interest groups. Dr Andrew Holman from America made a point of coming to the stand to introduce himself prior to his presentation on fibromyalgia at a special interest group.  It is refreshing to meet and chat to doctors that are both experienced and enthusiastic in the positive treatment options available for fibromyalgia.

Not all was positive as we heard of medical practitioners that were being overloaded with fibromyalgia patients and having to turn them away either because they were full, or they had to ration the services so they could offer treatment to patients with other rheumatological conditions.

This is unfortunate and a symptom of the lack of resources in the NHS and lack of priority given to fibromyalgia sufferers. However it was shocking to find the apparent discrimination that exists at a hospital in England where having a fibromyalgia diagnosis would bar them from required treatment from either the pain specialist, the physiotherapists or access to CBT resources. This is something we will be following up on to ensure that a proper duty of care is being observed for fibromyalgia patients at this hospital.

The conference had a true multinational flavour to it with people from Australia, Nigeria and Finland as well as Sweden, Somalia and America in addition to all regions of the UK. There were also delegates from Kenya, Greece, Belgium, and Malta. There was keen interest on the material that we were presenting on the stand and the EULAR 9 Point guides in particular. It was interesting to speak to trainee doctors as well and find out more about their learning experiences.

We could not have managed to attend this event without the help from members of the Glasgow support group.

Des Quinn



 Some Pictures:



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