ME and CFS in Parliament: Term dates, APPG on ME and Lightning Process pilot study in children, Written Question, new EDM
A compilation of Parliamentary related items
House of Commons Recess dates 2010-11 (Note: All recess dates are provisional)
House of Commons
State Opening: 25 May 2010
Conference Recess: House Rises: 16 September 2010 House Returns: 11 October 2010
Christmas Recess: House Rises: 21 December 2010 House Returns: 10 January 2011
Half term to be confirmed
Easter to be confirmed
APPG on ME
The reconvened APPG on ME had been expected to hold a planning meeting in September. I cannot confirm whether and when a planning meeting took place.
Today, I have written to David Amess MP (Acting Chair, APPG on ME), Annette Brooke MP (Vice-Chair, APPG on ME), APPG on ME ME Association Secretariat and Jane Colby (The Young ME Sufferers Trust).
I have requested that the controversial issue of the Bath/Bristol Lightning Process pilot study in children (which for which ethics approval was obtained in September and for which the study protocol and related documents were published on 16 September) is going to be tabled for discussion at the first meeting of the APPG on ME, on whatever date this takes place. If this is not being tabled for discusion I have requested that it be added to the Agenda.
The following have been advised: Invest in ME; 25% ME Group; RiME, Sue Waddle (rep for ME Research UK) and BRAME.
I took the opportunity of thanking Annette Brooke, again, for raising this issue with Rt Hon Andrew Lansley, MP, Secretary of State for Health and also for tabling the Parliamentary Question for which a response was received from Paul Burstow, MP, Minister of State (Care Services), on 11 October.
I also thanked the ME Association and The Young ME Sufferers Trust for their very strong opposition statements, their joint press release and for their representations to the Department of Health and to the Chair of South West 2 Research Ethics Committee.
I will confirm whether this issue is being tabled for discussion at the next meeting of the APPG on ME, which is expected to be held in November but for which a date has yet to be confirmed.
An EDM (Early Day Motion) has been tabled by Ian Swales MP (LibDem Redcar). It is understood that this results out of lobbying by Jan Laverick and a family member.
That this House notes that despite the fact that the Department of Health now accepts myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) as a genuine medical condition, diagnosis can still pose a problem because ME symptoms are similar to those present in a number of other medical conditions; recognises that one of the main obstacles to the adequate treatment of ME is the lack of knowledge and consensus about the disease; believes that funding and research must be focused on the bio-medical factors involved and not just simply managing the psychological symptoms; requests that the Government establishes an independent scientific committee to oversee ME research; and calls on the Government and the Medical Research Council to work with ME sufferers and bio-medical researchers in order to achieve a proper understanding of the condition’s challenges and unjust perceptions of the condition.
At 14 October, 18 MPs had signed up to the EDM. Follow its progres, here, where signatures of supporting MPs are listed:
Ian Swales MP maintains a Facebook page here: Ian Swales (Liberal Democrat) for Redcar on Facebook
What are Early Day Motions?
Early day motions (EDMs) are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons. However, very few EDMs are actually debated. Instead, they are used for reasons such as publicising the views of individual MPs, drawing attention to specific events or campaigns, and demonstrating the extent of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view.
More information on the nature and purpose of EDMs, here, on the Parliament website
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Written answers and statements, 13 October 2010 
Written answers and statements
Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 13 October 2010, c347W)
Work Capability Assessment: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Margaret Curran (Labour, Glasgow West): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the agency contracted to provide medical examinations as part of the Work Capability Assessment has been issued with specific guidance on the assessment of persons presenting a diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome. 
Chris Grayling (Minister of State for Employment): All health care professionals working for Atos Healthcare are required to read an evidence based protocol on chronic fatigue syndrome as part of their induction training. This was last updated in January 2010. In addition, all health care professionals are required to engage in a programme of continuing medical education which includes two modules on chronic fatigue syndrome. These were last updated in April 2009 and March 2010 respectively.
 Information on tabling Parliamentary Questions: