Health written question – answered on 4th May 2004.

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Photo of Iris Robinson Iris Robinson DUP, Strangford

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) what funding has been allocated to Professor Simon Wesley's team at the Institute of Psychiatry for research into CFS/ME;

(2) what funding has been allocated to (a) the Merge Group in Perth, Scotland and (b) other biomedical researchers for work regarding CFS/ME.

Photo of Miss Melanie Johnson Miss Melanie Johnson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health

The main agency through which the Government support medical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC is an independent body that receives its grant-in-aid from the Office of Science and Technology.

The MRC does not normally allocate in advance for particular areas of research. Funds are awarded on the basis of specific research proposals judged in competition.

The MRC has not provided funding for Professor Wessely's team or the Merge Group for research into chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME). We do not hold records centrally for other funding bodies' allocations.

The MRC announced funding in May 2003 for two trials: PACE—Pacing, Activity and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: a Randomised Evaluation, and FINE—Fatigue Intervention by Nurses Evaluation to look at the effectiveness of various treatments for CFS/ME. The MRC is also funding a £400,000 clinical trial: training general practitioners to manage patients with persistent medically unexplained symptoms.

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