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

Hng, Keng Ngee, Geraghty, Keith and Pheby, Derek F. H. (2021) An Audit of UK Hospital Doctors’ Knowledge and Experience of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Medicina, 57 (9). pp. 1-19. ISSN 1648-9144

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** From MDPI via Jisc Publications Router ** History: accepted 24-08-2021; pub-electronic 27-08-2021. ** Licence for this article: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: myalgic encephalomyelitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, ME/CFS, ME, medical education, postgraduate education
SWORD Depositor: JISC Router
Depositing User: JISC Router
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2021 10:05
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 10:05
URI: https://bucks.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/18430

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