§ Mr. Laurence Robertson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to promote awareness and understanding of myalgic encephalomyelitis among doctors and the general public; what help is offered to people who suffer from the illness; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Jowell
The National Health Service provides a wide range of services to which sufferers of myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)/chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have access and such patients are seen within a wide range of community services and hospital specialties. Patients can discuss the options available to them with their general practitioner and they may also request an assessment of their needs by local authority social services departments. It is the responsibility of health authorities to decide how the needs of ME/CFS sufferers should be met and whether or not they should purchase dedicated services. All such decisions are made in the light of competing priorities.
Raising awareness and understanding about ME/CFS is a major part of the work of the ME/CFS voluntary organisations. Since 1988, the Department has provided substantial funding to ME/CFS organisations, amounting to almost a quarter of a million pounds. Some of the ME/CFS organisations provide information packs to GPs about the condition, as well as to sufferers and their families.