Times Letters: British intervention in healthcare debate in the US and our NHS

In response to the report “David Cameron turns on MEP Daniel Hannan for anti-NHS tour in America” Times Online, 14 August,  H Patten has a letter published today in the print and online editions:

Times Letters


The Times
August 17, 2009

‘Untruths’ about NHS system of healthcare
British intervention in the healthcare debate in the US and our NHS

Sir, The quarter of a million sufferers of myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) in this country, who can access no effective NHS treatment for their physical illness, might agree with Mr Hannan in that they would not wish their NHS “care” on anybody.

ME has been classified as a physical, neurological illness (alongside MS and Parkinson’s) by the World Health Organisation since 1969. Instead of receiving biomedical treatment, ME sufferers are mixed up with sufferers of other fatigue-causing conditions, including mental ones, under the meaningless umbrella term “chronic fatigue syndrome”. In the UK no other neurological illness is treated solely by psychological interventions.

All UK taxpayers’ research and treatment millions have gone to the psychiatric profession that insist, against all scientific evidence, that it is an “abnormal illness belief”. No funding has ever been allotted to developing a diagnostic test. The parliamentary Gibson report recommended that these psychiatrists be investigated for a possible conflict of interest in also working for large insurance companies. This has never been done. Is healthcare here also, in President Obama’s words, “working better for the insurance companies” than for ME sufferers?

H. Patten

Frome, Somerset