A joint letter appealing to the nation to start taking ME seriously appears in The Daily Telegraph today. It is signed by 20 leading figures in the ME debate – including parliamentarians, clinicians, researchers and figures from the ME national organisations and patient support groups.
Breaking the ME enigma
SIR – The death of Lynn Gilderdale and the humane verdict in the trial of her mother brought home to many people for the first time what a devastating illness myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) can be.
Many of the estimated quarter of a million people with ME in Britain experience not only extreme pain and disability, but also incomprehension, ignorance, lack of sympathy and at times outright hostility, not only from the public but also from professionals responsible for their care.
Such lack of understanding even extends to blaming parents for the severity of their child’s illness.
It is time the nation began to take ME seriously. Provision of adequate clinical and other services by properly informed and sympathetic professionals is currently subject to a postcode lottery. Such provision should avoid inappropriate treatments, and range from support for home tuition for school-age children to respite care for the severely affected.
Above all, we should fund biomedical research to resolve the enigma of the underlying pathology of this illness. We should build on recent scientific advances to develop effective treatments, so that no one in future need experience the pain, isolation and despair that were Lynn Gilderdale’s fate.
Countess of Mar
Secretary, All Party Parliamentary Group on ME
Dr Neil Abbot
Operations Director, ME Research UK
Executive Director, The Young ME Sufferers Trust
Hon Director, CFS Research Foundation
Emeritus Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Sunderland
Andy Kerr MSP
Dr Jonathan Kerr
Consultant Senior Lecturer, St George’s, University of London
Chairman, 25 per cent ME Group
Chairman, Invest in ME
Dr Luis Nacul
Consultant in Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Professor Derek Pheby
National ME/CFS Observatory
Chairman, ME Association
Dr Charles Shepherd
Dr Nigel Speight
Sir Peter Spencer
Chief Executive Officer, Action for ME
Des Turner MP
Chairman, All Party Parliamentary Group on ME
Dr William Weir
Chief Executive Officer, Association of Young People with ME
Andrew Stunell MP
Vice Chairman, All Party Parliamentary Group for ME/CFS