Letter in The Independent on Sunday | 2 December 2012

December 2, 2012


Chronic fatigue syndrome/ME is a debilitating condition affecting some 1 per cent of the UK population (“ME: bitterest row yet in a long saga”, 25 November). This serious illness needs improved treatments and care, and research is central to making this happen. So it is with sadness that we read in The Independent on Sunday reports of allegations made against Simon Wessely, one of the few UK clinicians with a specialist interest in treating CFS/ME and someone who has done pioneering research in the field. Such harassment risks undermining research, preventing the development of new treatments and discouraging specialist clinicians from entering the field. We fear that this may have resulted in patients not receiving the best treatments or care – staying ill for longer and not being able to live life to the full.

Dr Esther Crawley
University of Bristol

Professor Michael Sharpe, University of Oxford

Professor Peter White, Queen Mary University of London

Dr Esther Crawley, Reader in Child Health, University of Bristol

Professor Stephen Holgate CBE, MRC Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology, University of Southampton

Professor Rona Moss-Morris, Head of Health Psychology, King's College London

Dr Charlotte Feinmann, Reader, UCL

Professor Hugo Critchley, Chair in Psychiatry, Brighton and Sussex Medical School

Dr Brian Angus, Reader in Infectious Diseases, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford

Dr Steven Reid, Clinical Director for Psychological Medicine, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust

Professor Patrick Doherty, Professor of Rehabilitation, York St John University

Professor Paul Little, Professor of Primary Care Research, University of Southampton

Dr Maurice Murphy, HIV Consultant, Barts Health NHS Trust

Professor Tim Peto, Consultant in Infectious Diseases and General Medicine, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford

Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, Chair, Public Health Wales, Cardiff University

Dr Alastair Miller, Consultant Physician, Royal Liverpool University Hospital

Professor Diane Cox, Professor of Occupational Therapy, University of Cumbria

Professor Jonathan Sterne, Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, University of Bristol

Dr Margaret May, Reader in Medical Statistics, University of Bristol

Professor George Davey-Smith, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, University of Bristol

Dr Jade Thai, Senior Research Fellow, University of Bristol

Dr Gabrielle Murphy, Clinical Lead Physician, Fatigue Service, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Hazel O'Dowd, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and CFS/ME Team Leader, Frenchay Hospital Bristol

Dr Brian Marien, Director, Positive Health

Professor Willie Hamilton, Professor of Primary Care Diagnostics, University of Exeter

Dr Selwyn Richards, Consultant Rheumatologist, Poole Hospital NHS Trust

Professor Alison Wearden, Professor of Health Psychology, University of Manchester

Professor Trudie Chalder, Department of Psychological Medicine, King's College London.

7 thoughts on “Letter in The Independent on Sunday | 2 December 2012”

  1. So here it is, folks, in black and white. A veritable guide to all the major players who have created and guided policy on the research & management of M.E. for the past 10-20 years, the very policy and mindset that has resulted in maintaining the status quo & ensuring that bedbound M.E. patients have stayed exactly where they are. With the notable exception of Prof Holgate, here are the players that have resisted progress, innovation and reality and held fast to the ideals of the 20th century, though given the context of this letter, I am most disappointed to see Prof Holgate’s name on this list.

    1. There are a number of names missing from that list. Some are not even telling patients openly what they are doing.

  2. Indeed, Jackie.

    And so insulting to those biomedical researchers who are working away in the background quietly and sincerely without fanfare. The ones who only speak when they have something useful to say.

  3. This letter just shows who has stopped the testing and treatment of an infectious disease that they deny exists. Personally I think psychiatrists should be certified-they diagnose patients without any kind of tests-its just a theory to them.

    I do hope that the ME Asso does not support Simon Wessely!

    Jacqui Butterworth

  4. Could the ME Assoc. write a letter in response? – detailing a list of the researchers with the titles of their bio-medical research (e.g Julia Newton) that is going on across the UK (& beyond ?); thereby agreeing more biomedical research is needed. In conjunction with MERE ?
    – asking the signatories to provide titles of their current research.
    – the letter talks of in the past “may have resulted in patients not receiving the best treatments & care..” and the response letter to point out that this bio medical research is needed so patients do receive ‘best’ treatment & care in future.
    – obviously not condoning any ‘harrassment’.

    As a parent of young person with ME I’m interested as to what are the “best treatments and care” referred to in the letter from Dr Crawley et al. ?

    I recall that 2 of the signatories oversaw/managed the PACE trial in the Oxford region.

    I wonder if this letter, the earlier article by Simon Wessely, his recent award for services to medical field, are gathering support pre-runners towards the NICE guildelines review next year and a coninuation of the PACE trial recommendations.

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