ME Research UK welcomes the release by the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) of ‘My full reality: the interim delivery plan on ME/CFS‘.
This document has the potential to deliver concrete benefits to the lives of those affected by ME. In the foreword to the plan, the Minister writes:
This interim plan sets out the current problems to be addressed and agreed actions to drive an expansion of research, better education of professionals, improvements in attitudes towards the condition and improvements to service provision. With the right advice, care and adaptations provided by the NHS, social care, education, the welfare system and employers, I am confident that people with ME/CFS can be supported to manage their symptoms as effectively as possible, contribute more to our society and maximise their quality of life. The interim plan is a significant step forward in delivering that vision.
Unlike previous initiatives (such as the Report to the Chief Medical Officer in 2002 or the Gibson Report in 2007), the interim Delivery Plan has the distinct advantage of its remit spanning numerous government departments including the Department of Works and Pension; the DHSC; and, crucially, central funders of research – the NIHR and MRC – whose constructive involvement will be needed if aspiration is transformed to reality. In addition, the involvement, especially in the research process, of patients as co-chairs of committees has added greatly to deliberations and brough fresh perspectives and impetus.
ME Research UK wishes to thank all those who have contributed to the process thus far, especially the patient community, as the demand upon their time and energy has been great as the scope of the endeavour became apparent. It ought also be remembered that it was made clear that practical support such as secretarial services by the NIHR, MRC and DHSC would be limited in the extreme.
Focus now turns to public consultation and ME Research UK urges all interested parties – especially people with ME, their carers and researchers – to join ME Research UK in submitting their responses to the consultation which closes on 4 October 2023. This is an opportunity to comment, suggest and press for improvements in what is a long document.
The DHSC state that they “will use the information submitted through responses to the survey to develop the Final ME/CFS Delivery Plan for England, which we aim to publish before the end of the year”.