RCGP agrees to stop classifying CFS as a mental health disorder

July 16, 2008

The ME Association is pleased to announce that we have been informed by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) that they will now remove their classification of CFS as a mental health disorder.

This follows a prolonged exchange of correspondence with the MEA on this issue and the fact that it was also raised in House of Lords questions to Lord Darzi in June, and at the APPG meeting in July.
This is an important precedent in that it will now be very difficult for anyone in a position of authority to claim that CFS (or ME or CFS) can be classified or officially listed as a mental health disorder.
The MEA will still be meeting the RCGP to discuss the wider issue of diagnosis and management of the illness in primary care.
Thanks to both the Countess of Mar for securing time in the House of Lords for questions on ME/CFS to Lord Darzi in June and to Baroness Howe for asking about the RCGP classification (more here).
The relevant part of the email from Ruth Palmer, Director of Professional Development and Standards at the RCGP, states:

Dear Dr Shepherd

I am pleased to inform you that the Curriculum Development Group and Postgraduate Training Board have now debated the views expressed about the reference to CFS/ME in the Mental Health statement and have agreed to remove the reference from the statement. It was not felt necessary to insert a specific reference to CFS/ME elsewhere in the curriculum, eg under Neurological Problems, because the curriculum takes a largely

generic approach and does not specify every possible condition.

We remain happy to have a meeting with you and I am sorry that it has taken so long to arrange this.

Yours sincerely

Ruth Palmer

Director, Professional Development & Standards

Royal College of General Practitioners

14 Princes Gate, Hyde Park

London SW7 1PU


3 thoughts on “RCGP agrees to stop classifying CFS as a mental health disorder”

  1. This is very good news.

    I appreciate the RCGP’s curriculum is generic but I should have thought ME/CFS might be severe enough as an illness to merit a specific mention under Neurological Problems – do they mention MS?

  2. Good news. Well done. I hope in your upcoming meeting that you will be able to persuade them to place it under neurological diseases.

    Also, I hope this quickly leads to Cochrane removing ME and CFS from under common mental disorders and placed in an appropriate category (I forget how they group diseases and which would be right for us). Have you contacted them as well? They not only strongly influence all practice in the UK, but in much of the rest of the world as well. For eg, many Canadian provincial medical board subscribe to Cochrane. This causes great mistreatment and non-treatment of patients. As well as lack of funding etc.

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