WellMe Wellington invited Phillida Bunkle to speak at their Annual General Meeting in December 2017. Phillida spoke candidly about her first hand experience of being a ‘carer’ of a patient with ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia which not only highlighted the patients experience and needs, but she also revealed some valuable insights into the needs of carers which are often overlooked. A very informative and helpful and encouraging video which ANZMES highly recommend to all. See video below:
Note from WellMe Vice Chair – Sandra Forsyth
Support for Caregivers: an integral part of the Circle of Strength
The wellbeing of the both the person living with ME/CFS and their caregiver and family/support networks is something WellMe strongly advocates through our Support Groups and regular Coffee Groups. WellMe’s ethos that support is all – support is vital is an integral part of WellMe’s culture, as is our buddy system. Support for our caregivers is equally vital. Together we are strong and an integral part of each other’s circle of strength. As our caregivers protect and nurture us, they too need to be protected and nurtured so as not to suffer burn out and exhaustion.
Caregivers and supporters need their own support networks and self-management techniques. Phillida Bunkle’s address to WellMe’s AGM last December on the personal and family impacts of ME: deficits in care, the importance of family care for the sick, and its impacts on other members will resonate with many. When discussing the subject of her address, Phillida said ‘I would like to touch on the practical difficulties of nursing the severely affected because they are barely acknowledged.’
Throughout her career, Phillida has been involved with many aspects of patient protection including patient advocacy, health consumer representation and policy development particularly concerning women’s health, and the care of people with ME/CFS and cancer. On four occasions she has been a delegate to WHO world summits on World Health.
Most noted for co-writing ‘An Unfortunate Experiment at National Womens’ with Sandra Coney leading to a Commission of Inquiry headed by Dame Silvia Cartwright that helped strengthen patients’ rights and saw the establishment of a national cervical screening programme, Phillida has published widely and won a number of awards recognising her contribution to health consumer protection. These include the New Zealand Health Industry Distinguished Public Service Award, and the New Zealand Governor General’s Special Award of Excellence in Journalism and being made a life member of the National Distribution Workers Union (NZ).
Phillida is qualified in many branches of massage and bodywork and is a former patron of the New Zealand Massage Institute. She also holds practice certificates in reflexology, foot care, cancer care and health coaching and currently divides her time between caring for family members with ME in New Zealand and running a small private health coaching practice in nutrition and bodywork in Central London.
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