David Torrance (Kirkcaldy) (Scottish National Party): To ask the Scottish Executive what progress it has made on (a) offering day-to-day assistance to people with myalgic encephalopathy (ME) and (b) providing funding for research into this condition.
The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy, Nicola Sturgeon, replied:
In September 2010, we published a Scottish Good Practice Statement (SGPS) on ME-CFS, for use by General Practitioners, as part of the process of ensuring that people get better and more consistent standards of care, including quicker and more reliable diagnosis. The Statement provides GPs with an algorithm setting out the generic care pathway. The Statement and its accompanying documents – a Quick Reference Clinical Guide and a Guide for Patients – can be found at: http://www.show.scot.nhs.uk/GoodPracticeStatementonME-CFSforGeneralPractitioners.
Healthcare Improvement Scotland (formally NHS QIS), launched the Clinical Standards for Neurological Health Services on 21 January 2010. The standards are in part generic, dealing with the early part of the patient journey, including access to specialist neurological services and the quality of the patient experience. The generic standards are applicable to people living with all neurological conditions including ME- CFS and Healthcare Improvement Scotland is supporting NHS Boards in implementing the standards through its 2-year implementation and improvement plan.
The Chief Scientist Office (CSO) within the Scottish Government Health Directorates has responsibility for encouraging and supporting research into health and health care needs in Scotland. CSO primarily responds to requests for funding research proposals initiated by the research community in Scotland and this role is well known and advertised throughout the healthcare and academic community.
CSO is not currently funding any research into ME-CFS, but would be pleased to consider research proposals, of a sufficiently high standard, for innovative studies to treat Myalgic Encephalopathy/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. These would be subject to the usual peer and committee review.