Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 21st March 2019.

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Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Conservative, North West Norfolk

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of medical training bodies on ensuring that training programs for doctors, nurses and other health professionals include the most up to date guidance on diagnosis and appropriate treatment of myalgic encephalomyelitis.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Ministers at the Department regularly meet with medical training bodies including the General Medical Council, to discuss many issues. However, there have been no recent discussions with medical training bodies to discuss the guidance on myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).

In terms of training, the General Medical Council sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours that new United Kingdom medical graduates must be able to demonstrate and Royal Medical Colleges, such as the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) set the standards for postgraduate medical education in general practice. General practice is where most patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)/ME are likely to be managed, and the condition is identified as a key area of clinical knowledge in the RCGP Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) content guide.

The AKT is a summative assessment of the knowledge base that underpins general practice in the UK within the context of the NHS and is a key part of general practitioners’ qualifying exams.

On 20 September 2017, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence announced its decision to undertake a full update of the guideline, ‘Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (or encephalopathy): Diagnosis and management of CFS/ME in adults and children’, following a review of the latest available evidence on the diagnosis and management of CFS/ME and a public consultation. New guidance is expected in October 2020. More information on this decision can be found at the following link:

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