Wednesday, 17 September 2014

BTF info for 13th sept 2014 meetiing

This article wasn't originally publishing properly, for some reason all the spacing was lost when it went live. I've now sorted this out so hopefully it will be easier to read:

I was on the panel at the 13th September BTF London Group meeting and am sharing my notes on BTF Activity for those unable to attend the meeting, below. It was a really good meeting. We followed a different format from anything we'd done before and I was quite anxious in advance about how it might go, but it was really a big success, as all the group's previous events have been. Well done to the group for creating this new Question Time format and for putting together a really good panel.

Even with three hours for the meeting we didn't quite manage to get through all the pre-submitted questions but we did most of them and as well as sharing what I know I learned a few new things as well and really enjoyed the day.

The event was filmed so the footage should be available on youtube soon. I'll post a link when I have it.

Meantime, the following may be of interest to anyone wondering what BTF does for thyroid patients. This info was sent to me from BTF HQ ahead of the meeting.  Much more info, of course, is on the charity's website .


  1.  General info from BTF
  2.  More info on the Hypthyroid Care Strategy Project 
  3.  General info from BTF
 1/ In response to concern about lack of knowledge of GPs (and other health professionals) about diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disorders, we are working at improving awareness about all thyroid disorders amongst health professionals at all levels, including GPs. Below is a brief update about what the BTF is doing to raise awareness and improve understanding of thyroid disorders, including informing health professionals about the patient’s perspective:


  •  The BTF conference for children with congenital hypothyroidism (CHT) and their parents: we are working with doctors/nurses from the Leeds General Infirmary (who have already changed their practices as a result) and together are producing information on CHT and parent experiences at diagnosis which will be presented at a specialist nurses' session at the British Society of Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes (BSPED) meeting in November. See also BTF News 86, p 1. 

Thyroid Eye Disease

  •  See executive report which describes the work being done to raise awareness amongst health professionals. 
  •  Two-day meeting in Newcastle, May 2014: Thyroid Eye Disease in the 21st century (attended by the public, patients, pupils and international experts on thyroid eye disease), see:


  •  During International Thyroid Awareness Week ( we issued a press release about fertility. 
  • Working with a GP on a potential article on hypothyroidism and pregnancy

Thyroid Cancer

  •  Short film on patient experiences of thyroid cancer – due for release in September 
  • Thyroid Cancer booklet to be updated 


  • Short film on patient experiences of hyperthyroidism – due for release in September 
  • Invited to provide patient representation on working groups – Apitope (see BTF News 85, p 11) 


  • Short film on patient experiences of hypothyroidism – due for release in September.
  • Worked with a GP who approached us to update a GP training module that appeared in Pulse on line – the most widely used training module amongst GPs; see: 
  • Investigating research opportunities 
  • Produced a poster and leaflet with a list of hypothyroid symptoms which were displayed in GP surgeries in various parts of the country earlier in the year. This was done on a pro-bono basis by the company involved, and resulted in an increase in calls to BTF HQ and an increase in membership from the parts of the country where the poster/leaflets were displayed, plus requests from GP practices for further information from BTF. There has also been a 250% increase in hits to the BTF website in this period compared with the same period last year. The company has recently informed us that they have continued our campaign and increased the number of surgery sites; the information will be available until at least the end of November. 
  • Endorsed the Thyroid Federation International (TFI) statement: 
  • The 2015 BTF Research Award will be specifically for a study into hypothyroidism 
  • We are in the process of drafting information for GPs and other professionals for the BTF website


  •  Patients kept informed via our website of changes in supplies in medication 
  • BTF Patient literature is being revised, taking into account updated information 
  • There is an increase in medical queries; and this raises awareness amongst the medics of matters that concern patients and gaps in diagnosis/treatment 
  • We set up a survey via our website to find out how patients have accessed the BTF and what services they would like from the BTF; we have 300 responses to date. The survey is on-going.
  • BTF News 78, pp 8-10 featured an article on ‘Challenges of Hypothyroidism’ which you may find useful – interviews with endocrinologists conducted by Judith. 

 I hope all the above information helps with the meeting. There are many strands to our hypo project and we are still in the planning stage, which involves discussion with a wide range of people. As far as GP awareness is concerned we want to raise awareness of all thyroid disorders.

Re the Hashimoto’s search issue on the BTF site, I can see there is a problem with the apostrophe (a ‘\’ appears in the search box) and thus the word cannot be found as the word ‘Hashimoto\’s’ does not exist on the website; similarly ‘Hashimotos’ does not exist. But if you type in ‘Hashimoto’ or ‘hashimoto’ you will get results. I have passed on the apostrophe issue to our webmaster. Thanks for letting me know. "

Here is some Further info on key activities related to the hypothyroid care strategy with approximate dates. a number of them are already mentioned above but the below information came from a different person at BTF head office:

"Hypothyroid Care Strategy activities summary

  •  2013 May Meeting with commercial firm about free distribution of targeted info in GP surgeries across UK Poster and simple leaflet design initiated 
  • July Meeting with mid-career GPs to gauge their interest in and knowledge of hypothyroidism. They wanted a simple summary preferably issued by NICE and a CPD module. 
  • Sep-> Investigation of CPD options for GPs – RCGP too expensive, PULSE already had module reviewed by M Vanderpump. 
  • Dec Presentation by VR, JH and JT to BTA annual meeting about proposed hypo strategy – they endorsed targeting of GPs via CPD 2014 
  • Jan-> Involvement in writing proposal for large scale clinical research project focused on hypo patients with persistent symptoms – awaiting outcome 
  • Feb Lead article in BTF News about hypo strategy Piloting of enquiry forms to capture data about hypo patients 
  • April Attendance at BSA seminar in Newcastle on qualitative non-clinical health research 
  • May Leaflets finally distributed to GP surgeries initially until end Aug Analysis shows clustering of firm’s boards in W Midlands and Wales – subsequent monitoring show rise in enquiries, especially from these regions. Now extended to Nov. Simon Pearce and Scott Wilkes advising on strategy. 
  • Jun-> Commissioning of Dr Tran article for PULSE – M Vanderpump updated module currently now available free 
  • Aug Feedback to pharmaceutical company about patient experiences with levothyroxine."


  1. A few years ago, my sister had to have her thyroid partially removed. She was so scared, but the surgeon did a fantastic job of removing the tumors. We were all very grateful that the tumors were benign.

    Susan Hirst |

    1. So glad to hear your sister's surgery went well Susan. I have had two friends undergo thyroid surgery recently, both with no problems, my understanding is that the key thing is to make sure you get a surgeon who is very experienced in operating on thyroids.

  2. Could you use some spacing as it is so hard to read

    1. hi, yes, sorry, for some reason, although the article has got spaces in it, when it's published they all dissapear. I will try and sort it out. thanks for flagging that it really needs sortiing out.

    2. pheww, think I've worked out how to fix the spacing now. I hope that's better. Do let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by the blog. x