The WHO Somatisation Project: The Elephant in the Room Part Four


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The Elephant in the Room Part Four

The WHO Somatisation Project [CISSD Project]

A call for transparency from Action for ME: Part Four

[This report may be republished as long as it is republished in its entirety, unchanged and with the author and source acknowledged. Note that embedded links may drop out.]


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Prof Rachel Jenkins is Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre, Institute of Psychiatry and Principal Collaborator of the CISSD Project.  (International Chair of the CISSD Project: Dr Kurt Kroenke, UK Chair: Prof Michael Sharpe, Co-ordinator: Dr Richard Sykes.)

For information on the activities and organisation of the WHO Collaboration Centre, Institute of Psychiatry see:


“The IoP was given WHO Collaborating Centre status in 1992. Professor Rachel Jenkins has directed the Centre since 1997 and also heads the Section of Mental Health Policy in Health Service and Population Research.

The Collaborating Centre and Section of Mental Health Policy (Centre/Section) offer support to governments and non-governmental organisations around the world, helping them to develop and implement locally appropriate policies, services and training to promote mental health, prevent illness and treat and support people with mental health problems and their families. These projects involve collaboration with policy makers, professionals and non-governmental organisations in the health, social welfare, education and criminal justice sectors, and the design of teaching and training material suitable for each country’s specific needs…”


On Wednesday 4 February, I contacted Professor Jenkins for clarification of the source(s) of funding provided to Action for ME for the CISSD Project (WHO Somatisation Project) for:

a grant of £24,000 in accounting period year ended 31 March 2006

a grant of £18,750 in accounting period year ended 31 March 2007

as only the source of a third grant of £20,000 had been recorded in the accounts as having been provided by the Hugh and Ruby Sykes Charitable Trust* for the dissemination of the CISSD Project’s findings.  No other information about Action for ME’s role in relation to the Project or about the Project in general has been requested of the WHO Collaborating Centre, at this stage.  I considered it important to first establish where these two initial grants totalling £42,750 had originated.

I now have a response back from Professor Jenkins who says that the two initial grants are nothing to do with the WHO Collaborating Centre [Institute of Psychiatry], and she refers me back to Action for ME for this information!

*Copies of the Report and Accounts for The Hugh and Ruby Sykes Charitable Trust from 2005 onwards are available for scrutiny on the website of the Charity Commission on this View Accounts page.


This afternoon, I have contacted Dr K Kroenke, International Chair of the CISSD Project, to ask if he would shed some light on the matter:

From: Suzy Chapman
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009
Subject: CISSD (Conceptual Issues in Somatoform and Similar Disorders) Project

Re: In connection with the CISSD (Conceptual Issues in Somatoform and Similar Disorders) Project

Dear Dr Kroenke,

I have a query in connection with the CISSD Project which I am hoping you will be able to shed some light on.

I write to you as Chair of the Project. I understand that the UK Chair is Professor Michael Sharpe, the Principal Collaborator, Professor Rachel Jenkins and that the CISSD Project Work-Group included around twenty others.

I understand that Dr Richard Sykes is the Co-ordinator of this interdisciplinary and international CISSD (Conceptual Issues in Somatoform and Similar Disorders) Project which will present recommendations to the World Health Organisation and the American Psychiatric Association for the revision of the current classifications in the International Classification of Diseases and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

The UK patient organisation and registered charity, Action for ME, recorded in its 2006, 2007 and 2008 Annual Report and Accounts that the organisation had been in receipt of three grants in relation to this Project:

A grant of £24,000 recorded for accounting year 05 to 06

A second grant for £18,750 recorded for accounting year 06 to 07

A third grant for £20,000 recorded for accounting year 07 to 08

The only information that Action for ME has published in relation to its involvement with this Project is as follow (taken from its Annual Reports and Accounts)

WHO Somatisation Project This grant is provided to help lobby the World Health Organisation for the recognition of M.E. and its recategorisation as a physical illness. This grant ceased in March 2007.”

CISSD Project This grant, from the Hugh and Ruby Sykes Charitable Trust is provided to disseminate the findings of the WHO Somatisation Project whose research came to an end in 2006. The aim is to produce a number of recommendations which, if accepted by the World Health Organisation, would be of direct benefit to people with M.E.”

I wish to establish the source of the two grants provided to Action for ME in 05-06 and 06-07 for which no source has been published.

The Finance Manager of Action for ME, Mr Nick Boatwright, is on holiday and I have been unable to obtain clarification of the source of the first two grants nor clarification of the nature of Action for ME’s involvement in this Project and what tasks have been undertaken by Action for ME, for which three tranches of funding have been provided.

I have contacted Professor Rachel Jenkins (Director, WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health and Section of Mental Health Policy Health Service and Population Research, Institute of Psychiatry) for clarification of the source(s) of the grants of £24,000 and £18,750 awarded to Action for ME in relation to the CISSD Project but I am advised that the funding has nothing to do with the WHO Collaborating Centre.

As Chair of this Project could you please confirm the source of these two grants in 05-06 and 06-07 in relation to this Project?



To be continued

The URL for Part Four is:

For previous postings:

The Elephant in the Room Part One:

The Elephant in the Room Part Two:

The Elephant in the Room Part Three:



Published: 05.02.09