Laurence Robertson, Conservative MP for Tewkesbury, tabled this question:
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the adequacy of training in myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome received by medical practitioners and assessors employed by Atos Healthcare to carry out work capability assessments.
A written answer was supplied by DWP minister Mark Hoban MP on 24 June 2013. He wrote:
DWP recognises Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) as a real and potentially significantly disabling condition. The assessment of individuals with CFS/ME or any other condition is not dependent on their classification but rather on the disabling effects of the condition.
All health care professionals who undertake assessments on behalf of DWP are required to read an evidence based protocol on CFS/ME as part of their induction training. All health care professionals are required to engage in a programme of continuing medical education which includes modules on CFS.
While the role of the examining health care professional is not to diagnose they are expected to elicit clinical signs relevant to a function assessment. Features such as pain, fatigue and repeatability of symptoms are all considered.