Britain's most important clinical guideline on ME/CFS – first published in August 2007 and never properly reviewed since then – has been put on a new ‘static list' by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), the organisation confirmed yesterday.
Despite huge concerns raised by The ME Association and other charities, the NICE Guideline on ME/CFS now joins 25 other guidelines that will not be looked at again by NICE for another five years or until major new evidence forces a rethink.
Dr Charles Shepherd, medical adviser to The ME Association, commented: “What NICE has done is wrong and incomprehensible. They've consigned their ME/CFS Guideline to a list not subject to active review at a time of enormous advance in biomedical research. We shall continue to press NICE for a major review whenever we spot an opportunity to do so.”
The guideline recommended Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Graded Exercise as frontline treatments for ME/CFS, a strategy that the MEA has always said is deeply flawed and, if graded exercise is incorrectly applied, quite possibly harmful to the health of ME/CFS patients. The guideline sets the tone for much of NHS ME/CFS practice throughout the UK.
The ME Association's objections to the guideline being placed on the NICE static list are detailed on pages 61-78 of this NICE report.
Dr Shepherd added: “This is such an important issue for people with ME/CFS. We won't let it go.”