Bob Russell, Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester, tabled a written question about CFS to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and received this reply from Mrs Anne McGuire, Minister for Disabled People in the DWP, on December 12.
Social Security Benefits: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what medical assessments are made of people who apply for benefits following a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. McGuire: Entitlement to disability or sickness related benefits is decided in the same way for people with chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis as for other conditions. Assessments are based on the effects of the condition on each person’s physical and mental function or their care or mobility needs.
For claimants of incapacity benefits, the Personal Capability Assessment is applied from the outset of the claim to people who have not recently been working in a regular occupation and to all other claims after 28 weeks of incapacity. For claimants of disability living allowance or attendance allowance, a medical examination would only take place if the decision maker feels that it is necessary.
And David Lepper, Labour MP for Brighton Pavilion, asked the following question of the Secretary of State for Health and received this written reply from Ann Keen, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Health Services) at the Department of Health.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
David Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that appropriate resources are available for NHS multi-disciplinary services for myalgic encephalopathy and chronic fatigue syndrome following the recommendations of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence including on (a) provision of diagnostic and therapeutic options, (b) domiciliary services and (c) relevant training for health care professionals, including GPs.
Ann Keen: It is the responsibility of local health bodies to commission services, funded from their general allocations, to meet the needs of those in their local population living with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis as detailed in the guidance produced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.