Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

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

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Photo of Margaret Smith Margaret Smith Liberal Democrat 5:19 pm, 23rd January 2002

While asking for a bit more time to continue with my speech, I associate myself wholeheartedly with Angus MacKay's comments: there is the question of diagnosis.

There is also the question of examining a range of different issues. That is why it would be useful to have a centre of excellence that would examine research on the subject. Another constituent pointed out that if services are not in place,

"a diagnosis is as much use as a jelly watch."

I agree with Janis Hughes: we need to identify exactly what services we need. That is another reason why we need research on the subject.

In the past, clinicians would tell patients that if they continued to feel fatigued they should come back six months later, but the condition would only get worse. We would not accept that attitude from clinicians in other specialist areas such as cancer and we should not expect it in relation to ME.

The latest working group says that

"a 6-week point from onset of abnormal fatigue is a more useful marker".

That is a move in the right direction.

GPs can undertake screening investigations, but it would be useful for them to be part of a multidisciplinary approach that would see them backed up with physicians, paediatricians, psychologists, therapists and nurses. One thing—