DWP recognises WHO, Freud tells Countess
24 November 2011
Following Lord Freud’s attendance at a Forward-ME meeting in October, the Countess of Mar wrote to the Welfare Reform Minister, thanking him for his presentation and asking him to comment on some issues raised by Professor Malcolm Hooper.
The Countess said, “It seems clear that there is some reluctance on the part of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) correspondents to give a scientifically accurate response to Professor Malcolm Hooper. People with CFS/M.E. and post viral fatigue syndrome (as opposed to those with a diagnosis of CFS) are being done an injustice in that they appear to continue to be unfairly discriminated against by the DWP and HMRC who depend upon the DWP for guidance.”
She enclosed a copy of the International Consensus Criteria.
Lord Freud has replied saying:
- DWP recognises CFS/M.E. as a real and potentially significantly disabling condition
- DWP agrees with the Department of Health, which has indicated that it has “always relied on the World Health Organisation in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD) under ICD code 93.3, subheading other disorders of the brain” ie. the DWP “does not classify CFS/M.E. as a mental health disorder”
- in the DWP training module, the phrase “most cases of chronic fatigue are attributable to abnormal illness behaviour” is “not presented as a statement of fact” but one to which practitioners may answer yes, no or don’t know, as part of “an exercise to address any erroneous pre-conceived ideas”
- the phrase “most patients with CFS will also meet the criteria for a current psychiatric disorder” was removed at the last review of the CFS/M.E. training module.
Lord Freud also repeated recent comments in the Lords about why nurses rather than doctors assess people with CFS/M.E.
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