10 May 2011
Yesterday in the Lords, the Countess of Mar asked Lord Freud, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), whether DWP medical practitioners' and Atos Healthcare assessors' training programmes for multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease are identical to those for M.E./CFS*, which is also classified as neurological by the World Health Organisation ICD10 G93.3.
As Hansard reports, Lord Freud replied:
“The training material for Atos Healthcare professionals on neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis is not identical to that for chronic fatigue syndrome. This is because the clinical features of these conditions are different, irrespective of how they are classified.
“Assessment of entitlement to benefit does not depend on the condition itself, the underlying cause or how they are classified, but on the disabling effects of the condition(s) present.”
*Footnote. The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies M.E. as a neurological disease in the ICD-10 code, listing benign myalgic encephomyelitis as an alternative term for postviral fatigue syndrome (G93.3) under “Other disorders of the brain.”