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Canadian clinic to specialize in complex, chronic conditions

Wednesday 18 July 2012


From the Vancouver Sun:


Dr. Alison Bested
Dr. Alison Bested

Clinic to specialize in complex, chronic conditions

By Pamela Fayerman,
Vancouver Sun July 12, 2012

Research Brief

B.C.'s first clinic for those with complex, chronic conditions like Lyme disease and chronic fatigue syndrome is finally inching toward reality, now that a medical director from Toronto has been hired.

Dr. Alison Bested, a hematological pathologist specializing in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, said in an interview she'll move to Vancouver in the fall to head the clinic at BC Women's Hospital. The clinic has sputtered along in planning stages ever since the B.C. government announced it nearly a year and a half ago.

Male patients will also be accepted at the clinic, which may not open until early 2013 since Bested wants to be involved in assembling the right multidisciplinary team of health professionals.

Bested, who has the only practice in Ontario specializing in chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and environmental or chemical sensitivities, said she applied for the job because it's "an opportunity for growth and for teaching patients and other health professionals across the whole province."

There are tens of thousands of patients in B.C. with complex, painful, chronic conditions believed to be triggered by factors such as infections, viruses, parasites, environmental toxins or trauma.

Bested, who uses western medicine coupled with complementary practices such as acupuncture, nutrition, herbs and cognitive behavioural therapy, plans to apply for a teaching position at the University of B.C.

In Ontario, she's been a lecturer in the department of family and community medicine at the University of Toronto.

Jim Wilson, head of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation, and member of the advisory board for the new clinic, said Bested is a strong patient advocate and the right choice to head the clinic.

"We're quite comfortable with her because, from our perspective, she's no pushover. She's known as a very good patient advocate and she knows her science and methodology," he said.

Lyme disease advocates have been among the most vocal about the need for a chronic conditions clinic in Vancouver.

Kati Debelic, a chronic fatigue syndrome patient and advocate said CFS sufferers welcomed Bested's appointment.

"We wish her luck in building a clinic [that] will provide competent and evidence-based health care for the most neglected diseases of them all," Debelic said.

"Patients have been waiting for a long time for this piece of news and are looking forward to the day this clinic is finally reality. For some of my fellow patients, the wait has been unbearable."

Bested, who plans to start her new job Oct. 1, said she thinks the government's $2-million annual budget for the clinic is "a great start."

Alain Gagnon, senior medical director of BC Women's Hospital and Health Centre said: "We are thrilled to have recruited one of Canada's premiere physicians in this field. Her passion for knowledge translation, as well as her dedication to patients, will advance the care for people all across British Columbia."

Bested graduated from McMaster University's medical school in Hamilton, Ont., in 1979.

She has worked at numerous Toronto hospitals throughout her career and co-wrote a book in 2008 (second edition) called Hope and Help for Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia.

Sun Health Issues Reporter:

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun


The above originally appeared here.



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