Background To Guidelines
The doctor behind the CFS/ME guidelines
Dr David Smith was Medical Advisor to the ME Association for 12 years from 1978 to 1990 during which time, he was a leading scientist in the field, collaborating with prominent researchers in the search for the CFS/ME virus.
Since 1990, he has established a highly successful NHS practice, treating more than 3,800 patients with CFS/ME at his Essex clinic. Over this period, he has held contracts with several Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) throughout South East England. All patients have been referred to his Essex clinic by GPs and specialists under these contracts. A spokesman for NHS South West Essex said the service, commissioned for a number of years, had been ‘Well received by the patients who accessed it’.
Regular audits of his patients show that more than eight out of ten patients experience improvement in function and are satisfied with the outcome of therapy. An active and independent patient support group is highly supportive of his work.
Milestones in the development of the Getter Better protocol
Early 1970s: As a GP in Essex in the early 1970s, Dr Smith begins to see patients suffering from a disorder dubbed ‘Yuppie flu’ by the media and largely dismissed as hypochondria by the medical profession. Convinced that the symptoms are both severe and very real, he begins a life-long interest in CFS/ME.
1978: Having left general practice to become a clinical specialist in the disorder, Dr Smith is appointed Medical Advisor to the ME Association.
1980 to 1989: Dr Smith collaborates with prominent scientists, publishing a series of research papers in major journals describing the recovery and culture of live viruses from the guts and muscle tissues of people suffering from CFS/ME. Around one in five cases appear to be caused by an enterovirus with a further one in four cases involving a reactivation of glandular fever (Epstein Barr) virus.
1990: Dramatic new research published in the late 1980s provides a very different picture of the disorder. It shows that whether or not people with CFS/ME have this viral residue in their muscles, there is no evidence at all that it is the cause of their chronic muscle fatigue. The findings are a shock for Dr Smith and his colleagues. ‘I and many other researchers had to accept it was normal,
even common, for viral particles to remain in the body without having any adverse impact on health,’ recalls Dr Smith.
In the clinical debate that follows publication of these findings, many doctors come to the view that CFS/ME must be largely psychological. Dr Smith never believes this. ‘’If the vial particles in the muscle were not the cause of chronic muscle fatigue, then the disorder had to be caused by a dysfunction of the central nervous system – the brain and the spinal cord) with the rest of the body functioning normally. It meant that CFS/MS was primarily neurological and an effective therapy had to address the problems in the brain that were responsible for the symptoms.’
December 1990: Dr Smith leaves the ME Association as the charity continues to insist that the search for the ME virus must continue.
1991 to 2012 and beyond: Dr Smith establishes a CFS/ME clinic in Essex, creating and providing the Getting Better regime for more than 3000 patients, all referred by the NHS. Over more than 20 years, he achieves high rates of evidence-based efficacy and patient satisfaction.
For a more detailed background on Dr Smith and his medical theories behind his treatment plan, please request the PDF Understanding and Diagnosing ME/CFS (123 pages) via the Feedback Form on this website. This document outlines how the successful treatment plan was developed and how and why it works. Primarily for those in the medical profession it will be of interest to patients and their supporters.
CFS AND ITS SUBGROUPS
For a more detailed background on Dr Smith and his medical theories behind his treatment plan, the PDF Understanding and Diagnosing ME/CFS (123 pages 737KB) can be downloaded here.
We regret we cannot provide hard copies
This document outlines how the successful treatment plan was developed and how and why it works. Primarily for those in the medical profession it will be of interest to patients and their supporters.
Dr Smith can be contacted at Email email@example.com
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