Not "reassurance " but proper respect and treatment !!

It is not "reassurance " that is required,  but proper respect and treatment !!
Greg Crowhurst
27th March 2011

Permission to Repost

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis , is a serious biomedical disorder; only those in the final stages of terminal cancer or dying of AIDS can possibly know what it is like to experience the level of sickness that a severe ME patient has to endure for years, often decades on end .There is simply  nothing more devastating then, than  for a sufferer  to be shoddily dismissed by a Neurologist , as my wife was once, as "just needing reassurance". 


I am so angry that this  is still happening to  friends. I know the depths of despair that this rejection  engenders; far worse, I can tell you,  than any slap to the face ! It is grossly unethical.  


The fact is,   any Neurologist who dismisses ME as a psychiatric condition ,  is potentially in  breach of the GMC regulations, concerning  the legal requirement for doctors to keep up to date with developments in medicine and medical science (as clearly set out in “Good Medical Practice: Duties of a doctor. The duties of a doctor registered with the General Medical Council: 'Keep your professional knowledge and skills up to date' and 'Never abuse your patients' trust in you or the public's trust in the profession' (http://www.gmcuk.org/guidance/good_medical_practice/duties_of_a_doctor.asp). Hooper 2010


(Malcolm Hooper : http://www.meactionuk.org.uk/Hooper-signed-letter-to-Rawlins.htm)




The UK Chief Medical Officer is on record stating that the Department of Health recognises ME/CFS as a genuine and disabling neurological condition and that health professionals  must recognise it as such. Indeed Sir Liam Donaldson stated on  BBC News 11 January 2002 that ME should be classed as a chronic condition with long term effects on health alongside other illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease”


 Given the   vast amount of biomedical literature (some 5000 papers) going back to 1934 and the fact that ME  was classified as a neurological illness by the WHO (ICD-10 G93.3) in  1969 , was recognised as a specific disease entity by The Royal Society of Medicine in 1978 , was recognised as an organic disease by the Department of Health in November 1987 ; any neurologist who ignores this is not keeping up to date.


 Any registered medical practitioner – consultant or GP who chooses  to dismiss or ignore the widely available biomedical evidence , is in clear breach of the GMC regulations and this consequently raises issues of medical indemnity.

As Margaret Williams states : "By letter dated 25th November 2008, the Northern Ireland Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Michael McGimpsey MLA, confirmed:

“I know that in the past there has been some debate about the nature of ME but there have been a number of studies and reports in recent years clarifying that it is a very real and debilitating neurological condition”.

On 23rd February 2010, in an Adjournment debate on ME, Gillian Merron, Minister of State (Public Health), Department of Health, stated:

“I want first to put on the record that we accept the World Health Organisation’s classification of ME as a neurological condition of unknown cause”.


By letter dated 28th May 2010, Kay Ellis confirmed on behalf of the UK Chief Medical Officer:

“The Department’s view is that it is important to recognise that CFS/ME is a genuine and disabling neurological illness and health professionals must recognise it as such”.

On 11th October 2010, in a debate on ME in the House of Lords, the Countess of Mar asked the noble Earl whether the coalition continues to accept that myalgic encephalomyelitis is a neurological illness as categorised by ICD-10 G93.3?”.

The noble Earl, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, (Earl Howe) replied concisely:

“The noble Countess, Lady Mar, asked whether the coalition accepts that CFS/ME is a neurological condition. The Government accepts that it is a neurological condition”.


By letter dated 19th June 2008, Stephen Atkinson on behalf of the Department of Health confirmed:“I would like to assure you that the Department recognises CFS/ME as a neurological disease”.


(Evidence that the official UK position is that ME/CFS (or CFS/ME) is a neurological disorder
by Margaret Williams http://www.investinme.org/Article-704%20UK-Government%20Position%20on%20ME.htm)



Very recently, on Feb 2nd 2011 Paul Burstow,  Minister of State, Department of Health, in response to Ian Swales MP,  confirmed that there is :

"strong international consensus that CFS/ME is a chronic and disabling neurological illness. I want to stress that it is a neurological illness; it is not a mental health problem. " 




(Transcript of this week’s Parliamentary debate on ME
by tonybrittonhttp://www.meassociation.org.uk/?p=4264)



In what other neurological disease would psychiatric interventions, designed to convince the patient there is nothing wrong with them, be advocated as first-line / core treatments ? The list of documented neurological abnormalities in ME is long and shocking : please see Malcolm Hooper's Biomedical overview  : http://hoopermedical.intodit.com/page/documented-neurological-abnormalities-in-me-cfs.

If a neurologist or any other medical professional dismisses  you, stating that you simply  need "reassurance" or that you need to heal some underlying emotional  issue , perhaps it is time to remind them of the facts : and then demand proper respect and treatment  !!







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