LDA conference, Guildford, Saturday 5th July – four and a half months to go, and counting!

I’ve just, possibly foolishly, offered to help to organise the LDA’s 2014 conference, which is now just over four months away. (Is the date in your diary? I do hope so!)

We’re revisiting (it will be our second year there) Surrey University in Guildford so, while most of the UK is currently focused, understandably, on rain and flooding, I’m looking at plans of the campus and the number of rooms required for those who plan to stay overnight on Friday 4th July and perhaps again on Saturday 5th July.

It’s a great opportunity for us all, and I urge everyone to make the most of it.

Come to compare notes with other Lyme patients, past and present, and other carers, to learn about the very latest on the research agenda, to catch up with what your charity, Lyme Disease Action, has been doing on your behalf on the national and international Lyme stage, and to enjoy a real sense of hope and purpose when you consider the massive progress that has been made on so many fronts over the past few months.

Our indefatigable Chair, Stella Huyshe-Shires, has just returned from the Nortick conference in Stavanger, Norway, as you’ll see elsewhere on the website, and thinks that liaison with our northern European friends in Scandinavia could help us progress still further, which is very encouraging.

And, back home, in terms of liaison with Public Health England (PHE) and other NHS-linked organisations, things are at a new level of co-operation that wouldn’t have been dreamt of even at last year’s conference, following the PHE conference on Lyme disease in October 2013. Not everything in the garden is rosy, of course, but, slowly and surely, inroads are being made.

Last year we welcomed more people from the medical profession than previously to our conference and we’d like to make it clear that all those in the medical profession who seek to learn more about Lyme disease will be hugely welcome. Just two weeks ago we had a very encouraging note from a trained GP (not currently working) saying how helpful he’d found one of the Information-Standard-approved LDA leaflets, having suffered from an unusual chest pain. His GP found a rash on his back and he then recalled having been bitten by a tick, yet three doctors failed to link the chest pain to Lyme disease. The final diagnosis was down to his symptoms being described absolutely exactly on the LDA website. His praise was manna to our ears!

We hope in 2014 to produce a short training video (NHS-approved) for doctors to fill some of the knowledge gaps evident at present.

Your Trustees are looking forward very much to seeing you in early July. Bookings will open on the website just as soon as we have costs confirmed and our outline programme agreed. We hope to see many previous attendees signing up, together with a raft of new names, too.

Next month, mid March, I hope to be able to let you know which speakers have signed up to present to us in July. Watch this space…

Sue Ockwell