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M.E. referenced in House of Commons Long Covid debate

M.E. referenced in House of Commons Long Covid debate

January 15, 2021

A Long Covid debate was held yesterday in the House of Commons during which MPs highlighted M.E. and called for lessons to be learned from the illness when treating Long Covid patients.

We’ve summarised some key points from the debate below:

  • Layla Moran MP highlighted that there are an estimated 300,000 people in the UK experiencing Long-Covid. She called for better reporting, more funding for research and recognition by employers and the welfare system.

  • Carol Monaghan MP, Chair of the APPG for M.E./CFS, spoke about the similarities Long Covid has with M.E./CFS. She welcomed the caution against graded exercise therapy but noted issues with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guideline for Long Covid.

  • Andrew Gwynne MP shared his experience of Long Covid and the exhaustion, dizziness and brain fog he experienced. He stated that he had to pace himself with over exertion making his symptoms worse.

  • Debbie Abrahams MP said that she was hopeful that we would learn from the mistake made in how we provide care and treat people with M.E./CFS.

  • Other MPs highlighted research that suggests 21% of those who get Covid will develop Long Covid. Attention was also given to children developing Long Covid and they called for greater information given to schools.

  • Jo Gideon MP explained that the symptom brain fog causes a lack of clarity, inability to focus and poor concentration levels. She stated that some people find getting fresh air and going for walks help to relieve this. Action for M.E. will be writing to Ms Gideon to highlight the dangers of overexertion and that people suffering a post-viral illness must not push himself or herself to do more than they are able.

  • Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP, Shadow Health Minister, paid tribute to online support groups who are campaigning to raise awareness of Long-Covid. She said the symptoms could be severe and debilitating with many unable to return to work. Long-Covid patients are being denied referral and she called on the Government to ensure people do not miss out on the care and support they need.

In responding to the debate, the Health Minister Nadine Dorries MP, said that the Government has a five-point plan to deal with Long Covid. The NICE Guideline, which was published in December, describe common symptoms and the support they should receive. You can read about Action for M.E.’s response to this guideline on our Long Covid page. The Minister also referred to the research undertaken into the condition.

Many people with M.E./CFS will feel a sense of familiarity when reading this summary. They have experienced the injustice and neglect referenced throughout the debate without the recognition or attention that Long Covid is getting. We are pleased that some MPs reflected on the similarities with M.E./CFS and that M.E./CFS is being mentioned in the House of Commons. Nevertheless, without greater care many of those experiencing Long Covid could become even more ill if lessons are not learned from M.E./CFS.