Andrew Bingham, Conservative MP for the High Peak constituency in Derbyshire, tabled a written question that asked the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate his Department has made of the number of fybromyalgia sufferers in the UK; (2) how much his Department has spent on research into fybromyalgia in the last three years; and what guidance his Department gives on support to be given through the NHS for fybromyalgia sufferers.
On 5 September 2014, Minister of State Norman Lamb (Lib Dem) replied:
The Department has made no estimate of the number of fibromyalgia sufferers in the United Kingdom. As the condition is poorly understood and there is not specific diagnostic test, it is difficult to make a reliable estimate.
Although there is no cure for fibromyalgia, some treatments can ease symptoms and support improved quality of life for patients. The treatments offered will depend on the severity of a patient’s condition, but may include: pharmacological pain relief; physiotherapy; dietary and exercise advice; counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy; and self-management programmes which aim to give patients the skills and confidence to manage their conditions more effectively. There are also a number of NHS Trusts that offer specialist fibromyalgia clinics, such the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath, which patients can access on referral from the clinician responsible for their care.
In each of the last three years, the Department’s National Institute for Health Research has spent 0.1 million pounds on fibromyalgia research.