House of Commons Debate: Health: Lightning Process

House of Commons Debate: Oral Answers to Questions, Health: Lightning Process


Reports are coming in that NHS GPs and CFS service therapists are already recommending the untrialled and unregulated Lightning Process to patients. If your GP, hospital consultant or CFS clinic staff have recommended the Lightning Process to you or to a child or young person with ME or CFS I would be pleased to hear from you. 

Contact ME agenda via the Contact Form or E-mail Suzy Chapman in confidence.

On 10 February 2009, Ms Celia Barlow, former MP for Hove (Labour), asked the Minister of State, Department of Health (Phil Hope) what guidance the Department of Health has issued to NHS trusts on the use of the Lightning Process in the treatment of people diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome:


10 Feb 2009 : Column 1235

House of Commons
Tuesday 10 February 2009

The House met at half-past Two o’clock

[Mr. Speaker in the Chair]

Business before Questions


Oral Answers to Questions
The Secretary of State was asked—

10 Feb 2009 : Column 1243

Lightning Process

8. Ms Celia Barlow (Hove) (Lab): What guidance his Department has issued to NHS trusts on the use of the lightning process in the treatment of people diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. [255402]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Phil Hope): The Department has issued no guidance on this process, because we expect decisions on clinical interventions, whether they involve complementary or alternative treatments, to be made by front-line clinicians. In making such decisions, clinicians will take into account evidence for the safety and clinical and cost-effectiveness of the treatment concerned.

Ms Barlow: I thank my hon. Friend for his reply. Sussex ME and Chronic Fatigue Society works tirelessly to assist the 6,000 adults and children across the county who suffer from the disease, and several of those people have been contacted about the success of the lightning treatment. Will he assess that treatment, in conjunction with the bodies that he has mentioned, and monitor how successful it is?

Phil Hope: It is not for the Department to undertake that activity. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, the independent body, issues guidance on the use of such treatments, and that guidance is the subject of a judicial review this week. It is to that independent body that those patients and organisations should make their representations, so that it can make the appropriate recommendations on the use of such treatments.

Mr. Graham Stuart (Beverley and Holderness) (Con): I agree with the Minister that treatments such as these should not be performed on the NHS until independent

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medical evidence has been obtained to show their efficacy. Will he tell the House how much is spent by the NHS on chronic fatigue syndrome?

Phil Hope: I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman’s support for a way of working in the national health service that has widespread support on both sides of the House and throughout the country. I do not have the figures that he requests to hand, but I will write to him in due course.


National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)

Chronic fatigue syndrome / Myalgic encephalomyelitis (or encephalopathy); diagnosis and management  (CG53)

Issued: August 2007   Expected review date: August 2010

For background to this issue see ME agenda 5 July report:

Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) Adjudication: Withinspiration (Lightning Process)

For joint ME charity statement and press release see:

Joint Press Release and statement: ME Association and The Young ME Sufferers Trust