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Article

An Audit of UK Hospital Doctors’ Knowledge and Experience of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

1
ST7 General Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology (Ret), Doctors with M.E., Office 7, 37-39 Shakespeare Street, Southport PR8 5AB, UK
2
Centre for Primary Care, Division of Population Health, Health Services Research and Primary Care, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
3
Society and Health, Buckinghamshire New University, High Wycombe HP11 2JZ, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Saraschandra Vallabhajosyula
Medicina 2021, 57(9), 885; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina57090885
Received: 21 July 2021 / Revised: 13 August 2021 / Accepted: 24 August 2021 / Published: 27 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ME/CFS: Causes, Clinical Features and Diagnosis)
Background and Objectives: There is some evidence that knowledge and understanding of ME among doctors is limited. Consequently, an audit study was carried out on a group of hospital doctors attending a training event to establish how much they knew about ME and their attitudes towards it. Materials and Methods: Participants at the training event were asked to complete a questionnaire, enquiring about prior knowledge and experience of ME and their approaches to diagnosis and treatment. A total of 44 completed questionnaires were returned. Responses were tabulated, proportions selecting available options determined, 95% confidence limits calculated, and the significance of associations determined by Fisher’s exact test. Results: Few respondents had any formal teaching on ME, though most had some experience of it. Few knew how to diagnose it and most lacked confidence in managing it. None of the respondents who had had teaching or prior experience of ME considered it a purely physical illness. Overall, 91% of participants believed ME was at least in part psychological. Most participants responded correctly to a series of propositions about the general epidemiology and chronicity of ME. There was little knowledge of definitions of ME, diagnosis, or of clinical manifestations. Understanding about appropriate management was very deficient. Similarly, there was little appreciation of the impact of the disease on daily living or quality of life. Where some doctors expressed confidence diagnosing or managing ME, this was misplaced as they were incorrect on the nature of ME, its diagnostic criteria and its treatment. Conclusion: This audit demonstrates that most doctors lack training and clinical expertise in ME. Nevertheless, participants recognised a need for further training and indicated a wish to participate in this. It is strongly recommended that factually correct and up-to-date medical education on ME be made a priority at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It is also recommended that this audit be repeated following a period of medical education. View Full-Text
Keywords: myalgic encephalomyelitis; chronic fatigue syndrome; ME/CFS; ME; medical education; postgraduate education myalgic encephalomyelitis; chronic fatigue syndrome; ME/CFS; ME; medical education; postgraduate education
MDPI and ACS Style

Hng, K.N.; Geraghty, K.; Pheby, D.F.H. An Audit of UK Hospital Doctors’ Knowledge and Experience of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Medicina 2021, 57, 885. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina57090885

AMA Style

Hng KN, Geraghty K, Pheby DFH. An Audit of UK Hospital Doctors’ Knowledge and Experience of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Medicina. 2021; 57(9):885. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina57090885

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hng, Keng N., Keith Geraghty, and Derek F.H. Pheby 2021. "An Audit of UK Hospital Doctors’ Knowledge and Experience of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis" Medicina 57, no. 9: 885. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina57090885

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