§ Phil Sawford
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what progress is being made into the biomedical research on chronic fatigue syndrome and ME; and when NICE will provide guidance on management and treatment for patients with ME; 
(2) when the Medical Research Council will report on their strategy for advancing biomedical and health services research on chronic fatigue syndrome and ME. 
§ Jacqui Smith
The independent group, set up by the Medical Research Council (MRC) to develop a broad strategy for advancing biomedical and health services research on chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), hope to complete their recommendations in time for submission to the MRC in March 2003. But the group has recognised that this is a tight timetable, and has agreed not to compromise the integrity and quality of their report to meet the timeframe proposed, reserving the right to extend the timescale if necessary.
The Department endorses the view of the CFS/ME independent working group report that there should be no doubt this is a chronic illness and that health and social care professionals should recognise it as such.
We are still considering whether to ask the National Institute for Clinical Excellence to provide guidance on management and treatment for patients with CFS/ME. In the meantime we have, through both the chief executive's bulletin and the GP Bulletin, made the National Health Service aware of the action for CFS/ME publication "Guidance on the management of CFS/ME". This is a useful summary of the issues.