From the Malta Independent newspaper, 2 July 2013.
A working party will be set up to develop a local strategy focusing on fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and myalgic encephalomyelitis, the Health Ministry announced today.
Around 1 in 25 people develop one of these disorders, which, while distinct, share many symptoms, particularly tiredness, disturbed sleep, pain and tenderness all over one’s body. As a result, they can cause significant pain and severe tiredness, which can have a significant impact on the quality of life.
The cause of these disorders remains to be discovered, although there is growing research and developing international standards of care on several aspects of these conditions.
“People with these conditions need a wide range of quality support and treatment, from simple advice to specialised medical treatments which varies among individuals and at different stages of the disease. They have endured some of the longest waiting times for care. The government is committed to improve services and outcomes for people suffering from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and ME,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said that it aims to ensure that people with these conditions “can access high-quality, effective and timely advice, assessment, diagnosis and treatment to enable them to fulfil their optimum health potential and remain independent.”
As a result, it will be setting a working party, whose convenor will be Andrew Borg, a consultant physician at Mater Dei Hospital and a professor of medicine at the University of Malta.
This working party will be tasked to develop a local strategy and identify priorities for the management of these conditions. Champions for change will also need to be identified, and the ministry said that the government is keen to work in partnership with all stakeholders, including national and local voluntary organisations, to involve service users in developing a service framework which will form the basis for service development and delivery.