Why ?

Why ?

Stonebird response to “ME/CFS is an organic disorder” by Professor Malcolm Hooper

If the case of Ronald Page v Simon Smith; enshrined in English Law, in 1996, that ME is physical not psychiatric (Hooper 2014), why has the NHS and DWP used psychiatrists known to believe and promote ME as psychiatric, to advise them on policy and practice, on the fatigue clinics, the psychosocial pathway, the treatment protocol and the MRC research funding for the last two decades when they :

· ignore the science and the physical reality of ME?

· are determined to “eradicate” ME by asserting that it is nothing more than an “aberrant illness belief” ?

· focus on the single symptom of chronic “fatigue” and ignore all the other significant symptoms and signs of ME, especially the cardiovascular, neurological and immunological ?

· deliberately dilute the case description so that it specifically includes somatisation disorders ?

· advise that no tests should be performed on those with ME to confirm the diagnosis, other than the most basic screening, which is universally known to be normal in ME and will not show up the complex dysfunction ?

· have no expertise in the areas of complex medical science such as immunology, vascular biology and muscle pathology which underpin ME ?

Surely this is against or outside the law?

In the UK, there is no act of parliament setting out patient’s rights, however the NHS must take account of law made by parliament (e.g. Mental Health Act, Human Rights Act etc.) or by court judgments. Health professionals must use reasonable care and skill and patients are entitled to receive care of a standard which a “responsible body of medical opinion” considers to be appropriate to their condition . If the duty of care is breached, the patient may be able to sue for negligence.(NHS 2006)

Any registered medical practitioner – consultant or GP - who chooses to dismiss or ignore widely available biomedical evidence, is in clear breach of the legal requirement for doctors to keep up to date with developments in medicine and medical science (GMC 2013) ) and this consequently raises issues of medical indemnity.(Hooper 2010 )

There is a principle in law called stare decisis; once a point of law has been decided in a particular case, that law must be applied in all future cases containing the same material facts; Ronald Page v Simon Smith has set set a judicial precedent. Under the Equality Act 2010, the DWP must take “due regard” of case law, to eliminate discrimination. (Patel R) Yet the daily experience of many ME patients is still one of active bigotry .

Why has the government done nothing to reflect the importance of the Master of the Roll’s 1996 judgement in its dealings with ME?

References :

Hooper M (2010) Magical Medicine http://www.meactionuk.org.uk/magical-medicine.pdf

Hooper (2014) ME/CFS is an organic disorder http://www.meactionuk.org.uk/ME_Judgments.htm

NHS (2006) Rights to Treatment http://www.nhs.uk/ipgmedia/national/Rethink Mental Illness/Assets/RightstoNHStreatment.pdf

 Patel R Case Law http://www.thompsons.law.co.uk/ltext/127-case-law-public-sector-equality-duty.htm

Greg Crowhurst
March 2014


  1. Interesting article with valid points, thanks for sharing

  2. I do wish Hooper would stop referring to ME as "MECFS" when he clearly means the neurological disease myalgic encephalomyelitis; by appending the very term disingenuously used by psychiatrists (in order to help them deny the very existence of ME), he constantly shoots himself in the foot.
    Because what's going on is the UK is that National Health Service (NHS) treats ME AS IF IT WAS "CFS". The term they use is "CFSME" but this umbrella term does NOT mean ME because they themselves say that ME is merely a "synonym for "CFS"!
    There is some quite subtle propaganda going on here, using deceitful double acronyms, and unfortunately it is working well (for the psychiatric CFSME clinics & all who work in them) but making it almost impossible for those of us wanting treatment and/or neurological research into ME to make our case.
    Otherwise, yes, why is the UK Government ignoring legal advice on this issue?

  3. I was alerted to this issue following my article on the WHO ICD for Phoenix Rising http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?threads/embracing-change-me-and-the-international-classification-of-diseases.28473/

    As with the frequent quoting of the ICD as a definitive statement about M.E (M.E/CFS etc) there is a significant potential for the uncritical repetition of Hooper’s proposition to bring about a large measure of misunderstanding for patients.

    It’s not clear from Hooper’s argument that he is distinguishing between Case Law and Legal Precedent, nor is it a settled issue that the Judge in the original hearing was making other than a finding of fact regarding the claimant’s Chronic Fatigue Syndrome status. Certainly the issue that featured in the appeals process which was ultimately decided by the House of Lords, was applicability of ‘nervous shock’ – to which CFS was only a side issue. It didn’t matter that the claimant suffered CFS, what mattered was that the car accident engendered ‘nervous shock’ which in turn (within the limits of probability required in English Civil Law) was deemed to have led to the development of CFS. The subsequent illness could have been anything that could be argued to have been kicked off by ‘nervous shock’.

    I’m not a lawyer, but aligning arguments for the validity of M.E with judgements on ‘nervous shock’, doesn’t seem to me to be a sound basis for progress. And Hooper’s argument – some of which you’ve echoed here, that the judgement in a 20 year old civil claims case could somehow form precedent where clinical judgement or the direction of NHS resources are concerned, seems to me to be fundamentally wrong. For those with the stomach for detailed legal analysis, there is a good assessment of Page v Smith here: http://ssudl.solent.ac.uk/956/1/1998_2_1.pdf


  4. I am trying to find your post on Phoenix Rising failed after 3 attempts.think classification is key so want to read it,can you help me find it please?I am not anonymous my name is Jackie..just didn't understand the other choices system requested

  5. I found your article thanks,I will have a look and see how I get on,with the Page v Smith article above...I don't understand why there is this international? refusal to do proper diagnostic tests and treat ME?Any thoughts.my email is jackiescoones@live.com thanks


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