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M.E. petition to Scottish Government now closed

August 26, 2020

The Scottish Government’s Petitions Committee has ended its work on ME Action’s petition, supported by Action for M.E., calling for more investment research, training and education of health care professionals and an end to GET.

For the past two years, the Petitions Committee has engaged with the M.E. community to hear evidence about the urgent need for services and support to reflect the latest scientific evidence. Yesterday, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman MSP, made a late submission to the Committee. The submission outlined work being done to update the Scottish Good Practice Statement to draw attention to the rapid review of GET for M.E. and post-COVID fatigue to advise caution in its use for M.E. until the revised NICE guidelines are published. It was added that acknowledging that the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) “is aware of concerns about graded exercise therapy (GET) for people who are recovering from COVID‑19.”

At the Committee’s latest hearing on the petition this morning, Convenor Johann Lamont MSP said she felt reassured by the Secretary’s letter that progress was being made, and that she hoped that the Scottish Government would learn from the experiences of people with M.E. with regards to the impact of Covid-19.

“I think we owe a huge vote of thanks to the petitioner [ME Action Scotland], and everyone that suffers from this condition,” commented Gail Ross MSP. “I don’t think we can underestimate what this has achieved. The submission from the Health Secretary confirms that there is work going on with the Chief Scientist Office […] and also with local health boards has shown up issues regionally.” The committee agreed that, given the actions being taken forward, it’s right that it ends its work on this petition at this time.

Thank you to Emma Shorter of ME Action Scotland who led this petition. We look forward to continuing our work with ME Action Scotland to progress the ambitions at the heart of this petition.