The Countess of Mar tabled the following written question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 14 November (WA 104), on what scientific basis he states that the majority of claimants with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis do not exhibit complex nervous system signs.
On 28 November 2011, Lord Freud (Minister for Welfare Reform) replied:
While individuals with CFS/ME may have a variety of neurological symptoms, to date there are no known physical signs that are indicative of CFS/ME. As the NICE guidelines on CFS/ME state: “At present, there are no physical signs that identify CFS/ME specifically”. The guidelines also indicate that the diagnosis is reliant on the identification of symptoms rather than clinical signs; it states: “The diagnosis of CFS/ME is therefore made on the basis of a recognisable pattern of characteristic symptoms, and on the exclusion of other known causes”. While the role of the examining health professional is not to diagnose they are expected to elicit clinical signs relevant to a function assessment. Where a claimant does have neurological signs they will be examined by an appropriately trained health professional.