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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effects on services for children and young people with myalgic encephalopathy of the closure of specialist units in (a) Leeds, (b) the Lister hospital, Stevenage and (c) St. Thomas's hospital, London; and if he will make a statement. (201831)

We have made no assessment of the impact on services for children and young people by the closure of these specialist units. Local health bodies have a duty to commission health and social care services to meet the needs of their local population, including those living with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to (a) ensure implementation of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's guidelines on the treatment of myalgic encephalopathy (ME) published in August 2007, (b) reduce the time taken to diagnose ME, (c) increase the allocation of funds for research into ME and the delivery of effective care and treatment, (d) reduce inconsistencies in levels of ME care across primary care trusts and (e) assess the availability of services to (i) children and (ii) adults with ME. (201832)

Health professionals are expected to use their clinical judgement taking into account best practice and existing clinical guidelines, including those produced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), to provide the most appropriate treatment for the individual living with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).

Diagnosis for CFS/ME can be prolonged as there is no specific test for this condition and other diseases with similar symptoms must be ruled out before a diagnosis can be made. The NICE guidance provides a list of medical tests that should be used to rule out other conditions.

The Medical Research Council is responsible for allocating funding for medical research, and does not ring-fence funding for specific conditions. Funding for individual research proposals is based on an assessment of the quality of each proposal by an independent panel. Local health bodies are responsible for commissioning health and social care services to meet the needs of their local population living with CFS/ME.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps his Department is taking to ensure primary care trusts meet the recommendations of the new guidelines on myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome produced in August 2007 by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence; (202244)

(2) what steps his Department is taking to reduce the time taken to diagnose myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome.

Health professionals are expected to use their clinical judgment taking into account best practice and existing clinical guidelines, including those produced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), to provide the most appropriate treatment for the individual living with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).

Diagnosis for CFS/ME can be prolonged as there is no specific test for this condition and other diseases with similar symptoms must be ruled out before a diagnosis can be made. The NICE guidance provides a list of medical tests that should be used to rule out other conditions.