Scottish Parliament: written answers, 6 December 2010

Scottish health minister Nicola Sturgeon replied to three written questions from Labour MSP Cathy Jamieson on Monday, 6 December.

1. Cathy Jamieson asked the Scottish Executive how many people  have been diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis in each NHS board area in each of the last five years?

Nicola Sturgeon replied:

The information requested is not held centrally.

The needs assessment of myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), which we commissioned from the Scottish Public Health Network, and which was published in September, suggests a prevalence of the condition in the adult population of between two and four per 1,000 people.

2. Cathy Jamieson asked the Scottish Executive what action has been taken to develop specialist support to enable people with myalgic encephalomyelitis to receive appropriate diagnosis and treatment?

Nicola Sturgeon replied:

The Quick Reference Clinical Guide associated with the Scottish Good Practice Statement on myalgic encephalomyelitis andchronic fatigue syndrome(ME/CFS) contains an algorithm showing the generic care pathway for people with ME-CFS. This helps make general practitioners aware of the more specialist services to which they might refer their patients.

The needs assessment of ME-CFS published in September by the Scottish Public Health Network (SPHN) recommends a three-tier model of care for Scotland, covering services in the community, services within primary care and specialist services or expertise. We are currently considering this and the other recommendations in the SPHN report.

Implementation of the NHS Quality Improvement Scotland (NHS QIS) clinical standards for neurological health services will also assist NHS boards in the process of improving their services for all neurological conditions, including ME-CFS. We are providing funding to encourage the development of a neurological managed clinical network (MCN)  in each NHS board as the main vehicle for taking forward this work.

3. Cathy Jamieson asked the Scottish Executive when it had last met the ME Association and what issues were discussed?

Nicola Sturgeon replied:

The Scottish Government has not had any recent meetings with the ME Association.

Representatives of the ME Association had the opportunity of contributing to the development of the Scottish Good Practice Statement onME/CFS, and the associated Quick Reference Clinical Guide and guide for patients which we published in September. These documents can be found at:

http://www.show.scot.nhs.uk/GoodPracticeStatementonME-CFSforGeneralPractitioners.

Contact details for the ME Association are included in the Scottish Good Practice Statement and the patient guide.

ME CONNECT HELPLINE

0344 576 5326

Available every day of the week between these times: 10am - 12noon, 2pm - 4pm and 7pm - 9pm.

Calls cost the same as other standard landline numbers (starting 01 or 02). If you have a call package for your landline or mobile phone then calls will normally come out of your inclusive minutes.