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Fam Pract. 2005 Aug;22(4):389-93. Epub 2005 Apr 1.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: a survey of GPs' attitudes and knowledge.

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Health Protection Agency Primary Care Unit, Gloucester, UK.



GPs need evidence and guidance to help them diagnose and manage Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)/ME appropriately.


The aim of this survey was to obtain baseline data and identify the factors associated with GPs' attitudes to and knowledge of CFS/ME. The attitude of GPs to the condition is an important indicator of likely prognosis.


A postal questionnaire was sent to 1054 GPs served by Taunton, Bristol and Gloucester laboratories. GPs' attitudes to nine statements about CFS/ME were assessed and the factors associated with positive or negative responses were determined. Knowledge of the clinical features was also assessed.


811 GPs (77%) returned the questionnaire. 48% of GPs did not feel confident with making a diagnosis of CFS/ME and 41% did not feel confident in treatment. 72% of GPs accepted CFS/ME as a recognisable clinical entity and those GPs had significantly more positive attitudes. Three other key factors that were significantly, positively associated with GPs' attitudes were knowing someone socially with CFS/ME, being male and seeing more patients with the condition in the last year.


Despite the publication of guidance for GPs on CFS/ME, confidence with making a diagnosis and management was found to be low. Educational initiatives and guidance for GPs should stress the importance of accepting CFS/ME as a recognisable clinical entity, as this is linked to having a positive attitude and could lead to improved confidence to make a diagnosis and treat CFS/ME patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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