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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-22686: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 24 April 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what action it takes to ensure that people with ME receive adequate medical care and support, and what its response is to reports that some health professionals do not recognise the condition as a neurological illness.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 14 May 2019

The Scottish Good Practice Statement on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) clearly highlights that some psychological therapies, such as graded exercise therapy (GET) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), are not effective for everyone and it specifically states their use remains controversial. It also advises people with ME should not be pressed into accepting unwanted treatments and, as with all other medical conditions, have the right to refuse any specific treatment offered.

The Scottish Government and NHS Scotland recognise the World Health Organisation definition of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) as a neurological condition. Healthcare professionals are expected to be aware of recognised guidelines, such as the National Institute of Care and Excellence and the Scottish Good Practice Statement on ME/CFS, and to treat people, so they receive appropriate care and support for their symptoms, regardless of the professional's personal views.

We are committed to ensuring that people in Scotland living with ME are able to access the best possible care and support, and benefit from healthcare services that are safe, effective and put people at the centre of their care. We continue to work with the neurological community, including those living with ME, to develop Scotland’s first National Action Plan on Neurological Conditions. We are carefully considering feedback received during a recent consultation and will publish our final plan later this year.