Bridges & Pathways is working with the South Australian ME/CFS/FMS Clinical and Research Collaboration (doctors, allied health, practice nurses, university students, researchers, primary healthcare agencies and consumer groups) to improve services and research for people with ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia.

Collaborator membership varies, depending on the projects and funding. Currently, providers/researchers are working together to validate practice tools and care pathways to train doctors and other medical professionals and bring the latest treatments to South Australia.

The South Australian Clinic and Best Practice Centre aims to demonstrate cost effective best practice care for Australians living with these poorly understood complex chronic conditions.

Care pathways are based on 17 years of action research; surveys, focus groups, working groups, small university projects and service provision data.

The business model is consistent with Australian Medicare, and public and private health funding. It provides Australian general practice and primary care agencies with a ME/CFS targeted service model (ME/CFS Best Practice Primary Care Model). This model provides a framework for the diagnosis and assessment of ME/CFS, moving on to patient-centred, targeted management of their symptoms and condition; within the time restraints of general practice.

The development of the Practice Model and Tools was sponsored by the South Australian Premier’s Community Fund (2012-2013). In 2014-2015, these tools have been evaluated in selected primary care settings.

During 2015-2016, we are working towards a multi-disciplinary Clinic and additional workshops to increase the number of providers to serve the many Australians living with ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia. This Clinic Stage will focus on early intervention and prevention, and on increasing referrals to providers recognized as being supportive of best practice ME/CFS care. Once validated, it is planned that the resources will be made available to other providers Australia-wide through in-service training workshops.

The collaboration is a continuation of the long-established history of researchers, consumer groups, providers and other stakeholders working together with the three South Australian universities. Research teams across the three universities (Flinders University, University of South Australia and University of Adelaide) are currently seeking funding to validate overseas research tests and treatments to make them available for all Australians. We are also seeking funding to pay for staff and services at the multi-disciplinary clinics, so that patients can access care at minimal cost.