What is new in the Czech psychosomatic medicine?

written by Ondřej Masner, M.D.; David Skorunka, M.D., PhD in September 2018.

On behalf of the board of the Czech Society of Psychosomatic Medicine

Currently our Society of Psychosomatic Medicine has 246 members. The membership is open to physicians, psychologists, physiotherapists and other health care  professionals. We are part of the largest and most traditional Czech Medical Society, called Česká lékařská společnost J.E. Purkyně. Every two years we are organizing a national conference of psychosomatic medicine in the size of approx. 300 – 400 participants. Occasionally, international colleagues and speakers attended the Conference in the past as well ( from Slovakia, Austria, Germany). Twice yearly meetings about scientific research in psychosomatics are held. Further 5 smaller conferences in Psychosomatics have been held this year so far. A scientific, peer-reviewed journal, Psychosom (https://www.psychosom.cz/), is being issued 4-5x per year.

Since 2013 we do have a postgraduate medical specialization in Psychosomatic Medicine in our health care system. In the past years it has survived various attempts to be abolished again in course of a general reconstruction and reduction process of all medical specializations. Up to this date, a total of 25 physicians have taken and passed the exam.

In the field of scientific research a multicentric prospective study has been launched to investigate the effectiveness of psychotherapy in patients with MUS (medically unexplained symptoms). The study is being led by Assoc. professorTomáš Řiháček, PhD. from Masaryk University Brno and has been granted by the Czech Granting Agency.  It is involving 4 outpatient clinics in Prague, where patients are receiving group psychotherapy. The study is planned to run over 3 years and be finished in 2020.

At the theological faculty of the University of Olomouc a new educational program in psychosomatics has been started.

This year our society had to deal with a rather unhappy affair, when a private psychosomatic clinic, led by a physician, who was a member of our society, was a target of a TV investigation that revealed severely unprofessional misconduct/malpractice. Patients with serious diseases have been treated with various alternative methods by partly unqualified personnel. When the Czech public television has broadcasted the investigation, a vivid discussion within the public and the psychosomatic community started. Based upon this experience our society has now decided to improve and strengthen the requirements for psychosomatic health care providers.

This year our society has negotiated further possibilities of fostering psychosomatic medicine with the Czech minister of Health Care and the president of the Chamber of physicians. Medical faculties have been contacted in order to introduce psychosomatics as a topic in the undergraduate medical training.