28 April 2011
Two questions posed by the Countess of Mar, chair of the Forward ME group, in the House of Lords received written answers on Tuesday.
The topic under discussion was the General Medical Council's Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Continued Practice.
Hansard reports that the Countess asked Her Majesty's Government: “whether training programmes for classified neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease are identical to that for myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) which is also classified by the World Health Organisation ICD 10 as a neurological disease under G93.3.”
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe), replied: “The content and standard of medical training is the responsibility of the General Medical Council, which is the competent authority for medical training in the United Kingdom.”
Asked by the Countess, whether Her Majesty's Government: “will encourage Department for Work and Pensions and Atos Healthcare assessors to review their approach to myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), in light of the findings by Jason et al in An Aetiological Model for ME/CFS, Neuroscience & Medicine 2011:2:14-27.”
Lord Freud replied: “Medical assessments done on behalf of the DWP look at the functional impact of a condition on an individual; entitlement to benefit is not based on medical condition/diagnosis. The DWP recognises that ME/CFS covers a spectrum and can be a significantly disabling condition.
“The article, An Aetiological Model for ME/CFS, presents a theory (yet to be tested and proven) for understanding the cause of ME/CFS. The DWP's guidance to assessors appropriately focuses on the range of functional impairment related to particular conditions rather than on causation. This article does not address functional impairment; therefore there will be no change to the guidance as a consequence of it.”