Scottish Parliament Answers to Kezia Dugdale MSP, 26 October 2011

Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Labour MSP for Lothian, received answers to two written questions about M.E. on 26 October 2011.

Question: To ask the Scottish Executive what its response is to each of the recommendations in the health care needs assessment for myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)/chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) published in 2010.

The Minister for Public Health, Michael Matheson, replied:

The Scottish Government is generally supportive of the Scottish Public Health Network’s needs assessment on ME-CFS and its recommendations.

We recognise, however, that the report makes a number of recommendations which involve the development of services and it will ultimately be for NHS boards to decide on the service model that best suits the needs of their local population.

Question: To ask the Scottish Executive when it will implement (a) consultant-led, multidisciplinary teams across Scotland and (b) managed clinical networks involving key stakeholders to provide a broad range of medical and therapeutic inputs locally and regionally and, on a national level, to ensure sharing of experience and expertise, as recommended by the health care needs assessment for myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)/chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) published in 2010.

Mr Matheson replied:

It is for individual NHS boards to plan and deliver healthcare services to ensure that the needs of their local population are met. This includes the provision of consultant led multidisciplinary teams.

Although Scottish Government pump prime funding is available to support NHS boards that might wish to consider developing MCNs for ME-CFS, it is ultimately for NHS boards to decide whether the MCN service model best suits the needs of their local population.

The recommendations of the ME-CFS needs assessment are, however, being considered by NHS boards. For example, NHS Lothian has started work on a revised pathway for ME-CFS based on the Scottish Good Practice Statement on ME-CFS for GPs. The pathway will seek to ensure that people living with ME-CFS are recognised early by their GP and receive the appropriate clinical investigation, treatment and support. This work will be taken forward over the next few months in discussion with the board’s partners, including patient and carer representatives.

In addition, as part of the work under way to support the implementation of the Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s clinical neurological standards, a short-life reference group has been established which will provide guidance to NHS boards on how to support people referred to neurology with functional symptoms. The group will publish a report of their findings early next year.

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