Concerning a recent statement and report published in the wake of the Judicial Review of the NICE Guidelines on CFS/ME

Concerning a recent statement and report published in the wake of the Judicial Review of the NICE Guidelines on CFS/ME

1 August 2009

In the past two days, various material has been published on the internet in relation to matters arising out of the Judicial Review of the NICE Guidelines on CFS/ME which was heard in the High Court in February, this year. 

This includes a statement issued on behalf of Professor Malcolm Hooper and Margaret Williams.

The statement discloses that in April 2009 a “substantial complaint” was served on the legal representatives for the Fraser/Short legal challenge – a complaint said to be currently before the Legal Complaints Service and the Bar Council Standards Board and the subject of on-going action.

The Statement from Professor Malcolm Hooper has been published by Stephen Ralph, on Professor Hooper’s behalf, on Co-Cure and on ME Action UK site and is dated 29 July 2009.  A second statement issued by Professor Hooper was published on 5 August.

On 30 July, Jane Bryant, Director of the ONE CLICK Group and the Interested Party’s Litigant Friend in the Judicial Review, published a report and commentary on the ONE CLICK Group site. Selected court documents were also placed in the public domain on 30 July which form an integral part of the report and which need to be read in conjunction with this report.

The report reveals that following the Judicial Review hearing, Beachcroft LLP, the solicitors acting for NICE, submitted a Wasted Costs Application which was granted by the High Court and that in June 2009, Leigh Day & Co were served with a Wasted Costs Order of £50,000, payable to the Defendants, NICE.

As some of the issues set out and discussed within the statements, the report and associated court documents relate to the “substantial complaint” and “on-going action” against the legal representatives who had acted for the Claimants, Mr Douglas Fraser and Mr Kevin Short, I am not intending to publish the statements from Professor Malcolm Hooper of 29 July and 5 August, nor the report and commentary by Jane Bryant of 30 July.

I refer readers, instead, to the respective websites of those who have published this material.

The statement appended has been published elsewhere, today, by two individuals who were not involved in either the case for the Defendants or that of the Claimants and the Interested Party, but who wish to clarify their respective positions, in the light of recent events. 

Previous postings around the NICE CFS/ME Judicial Review are archived under Category tag NICE Judicial Review 

COURT JUDGMENT Document for hearing 11 and 12 February 2009 in PDF format here:   Approved NICE Judgment  [1.3MB]


NICE statement on CFS/ME judicial review outcome

or open PDF here:   cfsmejrjudgementstatement130309

The Expected Review Date for NICE G53 is currently given as August 2010.


For BMJ Rapid Responses to NICE related articles and Letters


for Rapid Responses to:

Pauline Savigny, Paul Watson, Martin Underwood on behalf of the Guideline Development Group
Early management of persistent non-specific low back pain: summary of NICE guidance

(Tom Kindlon, Information Officer, Irish ME/CFS Association)


for Rapid Responses to:

Michael Rawlins and Peter Littlejohns
NICE outraged by ousting of pain society president

(Tom Kindlon, Information Officer, Irish ME/CFS Association; Dr Ellen Goudsmit)


Permission to repost 


In light of recent events and suggestions made elsewhere about both of us, we would like to clarify, collectively, the following:

In 2005, Stephanie, after receiving a ‘CFS/ME’ diagnosis in 2001/2002, was subsequently given a ‘borreliosis’ diagnosis, following test results. As anyone with any knowledge of the problems facing people diagnosed with ‘CFS/ME’, or ‘Lyme’, or ‘borreliosis’ will understand, the political situation is not as simple as being diagnosed with one or another. A useful account, for the layperson, of the rank confusion and contestation surrounding ‘Lyme’, ‘borreliosis’ and ‘CFS’ diagnoses is given in Pamela Weintraub’s book “Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic”, with a foreword by Hilary Johnson, author of “Osler`s Web”. It should be noted that many people, initially diagnosed with ‘CFS/ME’, have subsequently received a diagnosis of ‘borreliosis’ or ‘Lyme’, or other condition or disease.

Stephanie remains severely physiologically impaired by her condition, though there have been small improvements due to certain treatments and a proper diagnosis of a cardiac/neurological condition. We would both like to go on record and say, specifically, that none of this improvement has been as a result of NHS policy or ‘care’. Our collective position remains that the NICE guidelines are inappropriate and dangerous.

In 2007, Stephanie attempted to bring, independently from any other party, a Judicial Review against NICE in respect of their Guidelines for ‘CFS/ME’. Because of the other, apparently partially funded, cases being brought at the same time, Stephanie could not secure Legal Aid and therefore unfortunately could not proceed. Situations such as these are apparently quite common and neither of us hold anyone ‘responsible’ for Stephanie’s failure to secure Legal Aid.

Another clarification we need to make is that we had no knowledge of the Short/Fraser case until it was first announced publicly, although it is clear they had knowledge of Stephanie’s case as her solicitors were mentioned by Professor Malcolm Hooper in his statement. Although we kept the One Click group informed of Stephanie’s intention to bring a JR action, we were not given any information by them, and therefore had no knowledge of the One Click JR case apart from that made public by them.

We are both keen to see accuracy prevail, because we believe there are important advocacy lessons that might be learned from a careful analysis of what has happened. For this reason we may have cause to clarify any further issues raise by public comments made by supporters of the Short/Fraser or the One Click JR action.

Due to family problems at the time, Angela was unable to continue campaigning with the One Click Group. Since April 2006, the trajectory of campaigning that One Click has subsequently taken is therefore not that of Angela’s own, although Angela is aware that some of her work was used by One Click in the response to the NICE guidelines (for example, her “Summary of the Psychiatric Paradigm of ME/CFS” document), subsequent to her having discontinued her association with them. Angela has no problem with her previous work on either NICE or the psychiatric paradigm being used by other advocates, and is happy that this work has been of use to people.

Since leaving One Click in 2006, Angela continues to work in advocacy for people suffering because of ‘psychogenic’ explanations for their illness. For example, she co-initiated a campaign to ensure the APPG on ME were made fully aware of the objections many in the ME/CFS community have to the ‘psycho-social’ approach adopted by most of the ‘CFS/ME’ clinics. This was done in support of other advocates who had been highlighting this problem. In 2008 she, with another advocate, tackled the ongoing misrepresentation of the ME/CFS community that was taking place on Wikipedia, an unfortunate result of unsubstantiated allegations, made in the Gibson Report, about members of the ‘CFS/ME’ community ‘harassing’ a Professor. As a result of their attempts to protect the ME/CFS community from such unsubstantiated allegations being incorporated into the Wikipedia article on Simon Wessely, Angela was herself defamed on Wikipedia, and, falsely implicated as being involved in “personally harassing” Professor Wessely. More information on this subject can be found here in the public-archived dedicated Yahoo Group APK-Papers.

Angela continues to advocate for people adversely affected by the scientific and logical flaws in ‘psychogenic’ explanations for illness. She is currently working on an academic project which she hopes will benefit the ME/CFS, Lyme and other patient communities, a project supported by Stephanie. Both continue to support the work of other patient advocates whenever possible.

We both hope that the above clarifies our respective positions.


1 August 2009