Recognition of Fibromyalgia as a Disability — [Mr Adrian Bailey in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 15th January 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Toby Perkins Toby Perkins Labour, Chesterfield 9:30 am, 15th January 2019

I pay tribute to the voluntary group that my hon. Friend speaks of. We all recognise the incredibly important role that voluntary groups of that sort play, and it is true that, when someone has a condition that is so misunderstood, speaking to other people who have experienced it and to families supporting people who have experienced it is important. I think we are also all conscious that, in an era where local government funding has been cut, often charitable and voluntary groups are the ones seeing their funding cut. Those groups often do not require a lot of funding, but a small amount of core funding enables them to function. That is something that many of us are concerned about.

I am conscious that there are a number of people who have put in to speak. I am very happy to take interventions, but I also do not want to cut into other people’s time, so I will crack on a little bit. Obviously, if there are other pressing issues, hon. Members are free to raise them.

It is hardly surprising that so many employers and assessment staff misunderstand fibromyalgia when, as has been reflected on already, it is so often misdiagnosed by the medical profession. Most fibromyalgia sufferers will live with the condition for over a year before it is diagnosed, and it is often the diagnosis of last resort, which means that sufferers will often have gone through many painful months of ruling out various other explanations and taking other kinds of drugs not relevant to their circumstances before the true cause of their pain is articulated.