Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 5:51 pm on 23rd January 2002.

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Photo of Hugh Henry Hugh Henry Labour 5:51 pm, 23rd January 2002

The debate is timely, given the publication this month of the report of the English chief medical officer's working group on care for people with ME or—for those who prefer to use the other definition—CFS/ME.

We are all aware that, as many members have said, conclusive knowledge of the cause and development of this condition has eluded the best efforts of researchers. That elusiveness can too easily lead to frustration when we see the impact that ME can have on our nearest and dearest, particularly children. Alex Fergusson spoke movingly of the direct impact that the condition has had on Christopher and the way in which he has had to face up to a significant change in his life.

I congratulate members on the positive and informed debate that we have had on a difficult subject. John McAllion is right to draw attention to the number of members who requested to speak and who have attended the debate and to the number of people in the public gallery. That is significant and reflects the fact that this debate deals with a growing problem. One of the difficulties with the willingness to participate is that I cannot possibly cover all the issues that were raised tonight. That is an indication that there has to be a longer and more informed debate in Scotland about ME.