Graham Brady, Conservative MP for Altrincham and Sale West, put down three questions for the Health Secretary. Written answers were provided by Norman Lamb MP, the Minister for Care and Support, on 4 March 2013.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) on what (a) advice and (b) evidential basis his Department defines myalgic encephalomyelitis as a psychological condition;
(2) what assessment his Department has made of the findings of the PACE trial relating to the effectiveness of (a) cognitive behavioural therapy and (b) graded exercise therapy for people with myalgic encephalomyelitis.
The Department considers the condition chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis to be a neurological condition of unknown origin.
We have not carried out any specific assessment of the findings of the PACE trial.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) supports clinical decision-making in the national health service by developing guidance and recommendations on the effectiveness of treatments. NICE routinely reviews the need to update its guidance in order to take account of the latest available evidence. As an independent body, NICE is responsible for assessing which evidence should be considered as part of this process.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions officials of his Department have had with the Medical Research Council on the possibility of conducting further research to evaluate the outcomes of studies which have reported evidence of the presence of retroviruses in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
ANSWER: Officials have had no discussions.
The Medical Research Council funds (MRC) funds medical research in the field of medical science by awarding grants to research organisations.
Research organisations may submit unsolicited research proposals at any time in any field of research relevant to the MRC’s remit. In addition, research organisations can submit proposals in response to calls for proposals and highlight notices, which focus on key strategic areas.
Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis is currently a highlighted area and a high priority for the MRC and the Council has implemented a number of initiatives to stimulate high quality research in this area. The MRC is independent in its choice of which research to support.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consideration his Department has given to and what discussions officials of his Department have had with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence on issuing separate clinical guidelines for myalgic encephalomyelitis and for other fatiguing disorders set out in the World Health Organisation classification system.
ANSWER: We have had no such discussions.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published its clinical guideline on the diagnosis and management of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (or encephalopathy) in adults and children in August 2007. NICE periodically reviews its published guidance in order to take account of the latest available evidence.