§ Mr. Burstow
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to commission a national epidemiological study into chronic fatigue syndrome/ME. 
§ Mr. Hutton
There are currently no plans to commission a national epidemiological study into chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME). A number of definitions, disease descriptions or diagnostic criteria have been proposed to describe CFS/ME and there is no general agreement as to which should be used. This makes the results from studies on the prevalence of CFS/ME difficult to interpret and there is no agreement on the incidence of the illness.
The heterogeneity of the definitions for CFS/ME was an issue that was raised at the first meeting of the CFS/ME Working Group and is likely to be a topic for further discussion as work progresses. If a definitive diagnostic criteria for CFS/ME can be defined requests for a national epidemiological study would need to be considered in line with other competing priorities.