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Meeting 20th March 2003

Jane Griffiths, MP for Reading East, Secretary of the APPG, chaired a well attended meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Fibromyalgia at Portcullis House on 20th March.  Nick Palmer, former Secretary of the group was also in attendance.
Worthwhile discussions were held on a number of points of concern to Fibromyalgia sufferers, a major one being the raising of awareness of GPs to the condition.  It was suggested that this might best be done through the PCTs (Primary Care Trusts).  Local groups can help here by participating in PCT activities. [You can find details of your local PCT on
Some group representatives suggested that some older GPs seemed to be less receptive to new ideas and emphasis should be placed on GP training.  The new flyer to be distributed to all GPs will also help and Kathy Longley, MAB Coordinator, said that it was just about ready to be printed.  An initial trial distribution is to be organised in the Reading area and feedback from GPs will be discussed.  If this trial is successful, it will be distributed nationwide through PCTs.  The new FMA UK medical pack for GPs which is being worked on will carry more in depth information on FMS, but will not be ready for 6 to 9 months.

FMA UK is getting requests from social workers for information about FMS and there is a need for social workers and other key workers, such as carers, to be better informed about Fibromyalgia.  They need different information from GPs and there was a suggestion that a special leaflet be prepared.  Such leaflets may be worked on in the future.

As well as raising awareness amongst the medical profession it was felt that Fibromyalgia needs to become more of a priority in Parliament.  Jane reported that she had asked a related question in the House recently, and is awaiting a written reply.  It was suggested that MPs could table more questions concerning Fibromyalgia and research being put into the condition as well as writing to the Department of Health to request information.  Again, local groups can assist here by writing to their MP and asking him/her to join the APPG and/or table a question. 

Many group representatives contributed to a discussion on how FMS was treated in their local areas and how they have become involved.  In Inverclyde, all new FM patients are given a twelve week programme of hydrotherapy and physiotherapy.  North East Lincs has worked with their local physiotherapy department who now use Dr. Bennett’s exercise and stretching videos.  The Tayside Angus & Perth group meets in a teaching hospital which helps to spread awareness amongst students.  The Reading group attended GP training days culminating in a well received talk by Dr. Alan Edwards and Marcus Vaz, osteopath. 

Jane said that she would like to be informed of medical professionals who are involved with good practise with FMS patients with a view to inviting them to future meetings.

There will be another APPG meeting later this year when it is hoped that many of these issues will be taken further.

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