Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 5:19 pm on 23rd January 2002.

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Photo of Angus MacKay Angus MacKay Labour 5:19 pm, 23rd January 2002

I am grateful to the member for giving way for a number of reasons, not least of which is that I suspect I may not be called to speak. I want, therefore, to make a couple of brief comments. I congratulate Alex Fergusson on his outstanding contribution in securing the debate and on his speech.

I want to comment on the point Margaret Smith has made and which has been reflected in other speeches. I do not pretend to be an expert on the subject in any way, shape or form, but what is clear from the briefing we received and from constituents' letters is that the illness, which is painful and difficult to deal with, is but one part of an equation. For many people, a greater part is the thought that, unlike those who may require a heart by-pass or a hip replacement or treatment for a stroke, there is no clear course of action to be taken because GPs and the health service are not placed coherently to diagnose and treat the disease. It is hopelessness that contributes to so many of the problems that are associated with the disease.