The need for more biomedical research into ME will be the subject of an Adjournment Debate on the House of Commons on Wednesday, 2 February. Ian Swales, the Liberal Democrat MP for Redcar, heard this afternoon that he had won the right to raise the subject in the weekly ballot of backbench MPs.
A Minister will be required to be in the chamber to answer the debate on behalf of the Government. It's thought that this task will fall to Health Care Services Minister Paul Burstow.
On October 11 last year, Mr Swales tabled the following Early Day Motion (EDM) which will be used as the basis for the debate. The EDM – which has been gathering support since then – has been signed by 99 MPs so far:
That this House notes that despite the fact that the Department of Health now accepts myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) as a genuine medical condition, diagnosis can still pose a problem because ME symptoms are similar to those present in a number of other medical conditions; recognises that one of the main obstacles to the adequate treatment of ME is the lack of knowledge and consensus about the disease; believes that funding and research must be focused on the bio-medical factors involved and not just simply managing the psychological symptoms; requests that the Government establishes an independent scientific committee to oversee ME research; and calls on the Government and the Medical Research Council to work with ME sufferers and bio-medical researchers in order to achieve a proper understanding of the condition’s challenges and unjust perceptions of the condition.
To follow the progress of the EDM, click here.
Watch the debate live on the BBC Parliamentary Channel by using this link http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/house_of_commons/newsid_9382000/9382412.stm
28 January: The debate has now been listed in next week's House of Common business schedule as a ‘Private Member's debate' to take place in Westminster Hall on Wednesday February 2 between 4 and 4.30pm.