The answer is that the vast majority of doctors are either very experienced or very experienced but not very knowledgeable about the science behind the disease, according to new research from the University of Warwick.
In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the UK’s University of Manchester found that the average doctor spends between five and 10 minutes per visit with patients, depending on their severity of illness.
They found that even with advanced medicine, the average patient was still a little bit clueless about the disease.
Dr Mark Davies, one of the authors of the study, said: ‘We found that doctors were much more likely to be unaware of the potential harms associated with the condition than we were.’
We found even though we did find some good research that there is a lack of understanding of the medical implications of this condition.’
Doctors may be very busy with patients with a lot of other health problems that might be related to the condition but the disease itself, we are not aware of it and so we may have a bit of an attitude towards the condition.”
We’ve got a lot to learn’In the UK, there are an estimated 25 million people with CFS, and it’s an increasingly common condition, according the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).
In the US, it’s estimated there are about 1.3 million people living with the disease in a population of nearly 6 million people.
Dr Davies said: ‘[Our] research shows that people are very keen to know more about this condition, but they are more concerned with how much information they have to provide and how well it’s being understood.’
What the researchers found was that while doctors were often aware of the disease and were doing their best to provide care, they were also unaware of how the disease actually works.
Dr James Greenfield, a GP from the Royal Melbourne and St Kilda Hospital who was not involved in the research, said he thought the findings ‘may help explain why it is difficult to find good and well-qualified people to work in the field of chronic fatigue syndrome’.
He added: ‘The research highlights the importance of working together to understand the disease better.’
The study was based on a survey of 8,000 doctors who were asked about their knowledge and experience of CFS.
The majority of respondents were women, with 75 per cent of the doctors reporting they were experienced in the treatment of the condition.
There was a small percentage of those who were not trained in the illness, with just 6 per cent saying they were not knowledgeable of the illness.
The study also found that people with an average of 15 years’ experience of chronic or chronic fatigue were much less likely to work as a GP than those who had never experienced the condition or were not qualified.’
If you want to be a good GP, you need to know the condition and be able to get the best care out of it,’ Dr Davies said.