HC Deb 17 September 2004 vol 424 cc1984-5W
Dr. Richard Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the prevalence is of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome in England; and how much was spent on research into these illnesses in 2003–04. [189455]

Dr. Ladyman

The Department does not undertake special data collection exercises for specific diseases, conditions, syndromes or injuries. Central monitoring and reporting is concentrated on the information needed to demonstrate progress against the targets set out in "National Standards, Local Action: Health and Social Care Standards and Planning Framework 2005/06–2007/08" published by the Department on 21 July 2004; and for contractual purposes. Additional monitoring is kept to a minimum in favour of local performance management systems, exception reporting and independent inspections and does not include cases of myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME).

The main agency through which the Government support medical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department of Trade and Industry via the Office of Science and Technology. The MRC, with the Department, is funding two complementary trials into various treatments options for CFS/ME for which a total of £4.2 million has been allocated. The trials were announced in 2003 and patient recruitment will start later this year.

The Department, through the National Health Service Research and Development programme, is also funding a £75,000 trial entitled "Cognitive behavioural therapy in chronic fatigue syndrome: A randomised controlled trial of an outpatient group programme".

Over 75 per cent. of the Department's total expenditure on health research is devolved to and managed by NHS organisations. Details of individual projects, including some concerned with myalgic encephalomyelitis, can be found on the national research register at www.dh.gov.uk/research.

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