An estimated seven thousand ME and FMS patients in N.Ireland are unable to access specialist medical care. Approximately 25% are unable to leave their homes or beds. Something needs to be done.
Fifty international ME experts agree that the Canadian Consensus Criteria (CCC) should be immediately adopted both for medical diagnosis and for clinical research for ME. Further they say that the CCC should be used as the basis for future revisions in the light of ongoing research. (ME and FMS are often medically confused.)
Northern Ireland is in a unique situation, in that it can independently choose to adopt the CCC for ME.
This move would give local doctors the best means to accurately identify patients with ME and this could potentially lead to better prospects for patient recovery and hopefully an earlier return to a productive life.
Unfortunately, current NICE guidelines recommend that ME patients should have Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) to help them recover. GET is now known to be harmful for ME patients.
Adopting the CCC would allow Northern Ireland to take the lead in developing a more sympathetic and paced approach to the treatment of ME.
Northern Ireland has a chance to lead the way:
- by fully adopting the CCC;
- by promoting the understanding of ME and FMS as physical illnesses;
- and perhaps even by creating an ME and FMS Centre of Clinical Excellence.
Newry & Mourne ME/Fibromyalgia Support Group have already been pro-active in bringing some of the foremost researchers in ME to Northern Ireland to speak to medical professionals. The most recent being the presentation by Dr Mark VanNess in Stormont for which two Continuous Professional Development points were awarded by the Royal College of Physicians in London. It is hoped that more presentations of this nature will follow.