Transcript: BBC Radio Norfolk, Ian Gibson, May 2007

In May 2007, Dr Ian Gibson MP had taken part in another broadcast of the Stephen Bumfrey show, in a strand on ME for ME Awareness Week:

First published on the Co-Cure emailing list on 23 May 2007 

THE FOLLOWING IS AN UNOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT OF AN EXTRACT FROM THE STEPHEN BUMFREY SHOW, RADIO NORFOLK (UK), 11 MAY 2007. WHILE CARE HAS BEEN TAKEN IN TRANSCRIBING THIS EXTRACT, SOME ERRORS MAY REMAIN (although the absence of Dr Ian Gibson’s answers to the questions concerning the petition by “M.E. Support-Norfolk” is not an error of transcription):

Transcript prepared by John Sayer
23 May 2007

Stephen Bumfry (presenter): So if you’re on Gentleman’s Walk in Norwich on Saturday, you may be asked to sign a petition organised by a Norfolk M.E. support group. Well, Ian, you can tell us more about this, can’t you?

Ian Gibson: Yes, well, a couple of years ago I got visited by some people from Norfolk and from Norwich who were concerned about the government’s position on M.E. and treatment centres and their whole attitude to it and many people didn’t believe that M.E. existed – it was just, you know, people making it up and so on; it certainly does when you meet constituents and I met a lot of people and started an inquiry off.

Now, it wasn’t a perfect inquiry, in the sense that we didn’t have a lot of administrative help and so on, but we’ve got a report out. I got people from the Lords and the Commons and we interviewed people including government ministers on the issue and what we’ve found is that some of the patient groups, now support groups, of which there are quite a few, are working better together, where there had been a bit of rivalry before now they’re working together.

We’re also thinking about putting in a big grant request for biomedical research – there’s an argument whether it’s a sorta psychological illness or biomedical and we came down very much on the biomedical side and said that we really do need some research in that area.

Stephen Bumfry: Didn’t it used to be called “yuppie flu” when it started?

Ian Gibson: Well, that was when it started. Yeah, “yuppie flu”…

Stephen Bumfry (talking over): Yeah, when it was first identified.

Ian Gibson: …well, that gave the game away. It was just people finding reasons for taking a day off work. It’s nothing like, some people are seriously ill…

Stephen Bumfry (talking over): Tell us about the symptoms. I mean, how bad can it be?

Ian Gibson: Well, it, I mean it varies in different people but, I mean, it can be much, it can put people right out of action. It can be, in bed for weeks and they just feel generally ill, muscular problems and so on and just feeling really down. I mean, the flu kind of symptoms kinda describe some of the symptoms but the weakness of people needed some kind of approach medically and the medics in general just thought that some kind of cognitive therapy would be good enough. Well it helps but it’s not good enough. We need to have a real understanding of what causes it.

Stephen Bumfry: Do you think the petition’s gonna make any difference?

Ian Gibson: Yes I think there’s been an awareness week of it and I think our report will make a difference. We had a meeting in London and lots of people are feeling more confident now about moving it on. We’ve had people from Canada and the States over, telling us about what they’re doing there and I think there’s a new excitement in the field and perhaps within – shake government up to do something about supporting it. The treatment centres are very important and there is a possibility of the one in East Anglia disappearing and losing it’s leadership and so on, and we’re fighting to keep  that.

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