Last update 20th. January 2005


Department of Health consults with Sports and Medicine Association

An application for speciality recognition for Sports and Exercise Medicine has recently been received by the Department of Health and is currently undergoing a consultation process.

Will the Department of Health support their application for Royal patronage?

Prof Michael Cullen, chairperson British Association of Sports and Exercise Medicine (BASEM) says in their response to D of H consultation paper on Choosing health? Choosing activity?

"At present Sports and Exercise Medicine is not a recognised Medical speciality in the United Kingdom, we do not produce doctors who are confident in recommending exercise to patients with no or few risk factors, let alone in those with established disease states.

If we are serious about producing a cultural shift to a more active society, measures will have to be instituted to underpin the delivery of adequate health and social services".

In November 2004, Farres S Haddad, BSc MHC(Orth) FRSC(Orth) said at the conference Orthopaedics, Sports injury and Trauma that musculo/skeletal disorders account for 40% of all lost working days, 40% of all disabilities, 40% of early retirement. Back pain is the second leading cause of all sick leave. He welcomed the faculty to 'encourage controversy'.

The United Kingdom Association of Doctors in Sport Taking Sports Medicine into the 21st Century answers the question what is the difference between orthopaedic surgeons and Sports physicians? The main difference is that sport physicians specialise in non operative treatment of musculo/skeletal injury. By far the greater proportion of musculo/skeletal injuries, about 95% can be treated non operatively. Examples of conditions/injuries as a result of work or sporting activities managed by Sports physicians on a daily basis,

Endorsing Sports physicians with speciality status would establish adequate and appropriate treatment of muscle pain, thus preventing musculo/skeletal disability. Sports physicians also have a greater understanding and are able to treat effectively, Chronic Fatigue syndrome. Sports physicians treat athletes with the parallel diagnosis of UPS (Underperformance syndrome). One of the main differences between the two disease states and successful outcome is length of time it takes to diagnose and treat. Athletes are treated quickly and the rest of the population are neglected.

Giving autonomy to Sports physicians would mean that people would have direct access to treatment, bypassing GPs, Rheumatologist's and orthopaedic surgeons. Cutting down on lengthy referral times and most importantly giving physical medicine equality and scientific recognition within our NHS.

The government's white paper for health has been criticised by the press and they have been accused of being a nannying state. Behind the scenes there is a real opportunity for reforming the NHS and stopping the terrible waste of life through unnecessary pain, putting an end to the appalling draconian idea that 'pain is all in the mind'.

I passionately support their application, does anyone else?

Jane Barratt