Video: David Drew MP calls for greater recognition of ME, more research and support
David Drew spoke in Parliament on Thursday to highlight the need for real changes to the current guidelines so that people who have ME get the right support and treatment
I shall be brief, Madam Deputy Speaker.
I congratulate Carol Monaghan on securing this debate through the Backbench Business Committee. I shall try not to go over ground already covered, but I must pay due regard to my constituent Dr Charles Shepherd, who continues to advise the ME Association and has come forward with many suggestions that it has followed.
On medical education, there is evidence of some progress, which is very pleasing. GPs are the gatekeepers and need to recognise ME at an early stage so they can help their patients. It is heartrending to read what constituents have written to me, particularly the parents of younger children suffering dramatically from this dreadful condition. The PACE trial and the need for a rewrite of the NICE guidelines have been touched on already. It is important that NICE bring that forward. It would be interesting to know why the Government have cut the money for biomedical research and the National Institutes of Health. If that money could be put back in, that would be one bit of good news the Minister could give us. My hon. Friend Mr Bailey touched on the role of the Department for Work and Pensions. It is important that this condition be recognised and that sufferers get early support. On the work of clinical commissioning groups, the NHS has to do more and spend its own local resources.
To finish, I want to touch on the overlap with B12 deficiency, which has not been mentioned yet. Autoimmune metaplastic atrophic gastritis, previously known as pernicious anaemia, is often confused with ME. It is very important that we encourage local health bodies to rewrite the rules for that condition as well to ensure that people are correctly diagnosed. It is very unhelpful when people’s conditions are not properly recognised as it can result in a downward spiral of psychological problems. It is about time we spent the necessary resources on this condition and gave the necessary help to sufferers.