I was pleased to speak in Parliament about M.E., a much misunderstood condition, affecting around 20,000 people in Scotland, with varying degrees of severity.
Early diagnosis and proper management of M.E. are vital, as this can do much to prevent the condition deteriorating and present the best chance of long-term improvement.
Affecting more people than Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis combined, it is estimated M.E. costs the UK economy at least £3.3 billion each year in terms of healthcare, welfare payments and lost productivity.
Frustratingly the majority of UK public research funding has been awarded to psychological and behavioural studies, leaving people with ME feeling mistreated and neglected, given that global scientific consensus is that significant investment in biomedical research is required.
It is encouraging that the Scottish Government announced new funding including £90,000 for a new PhD studentship focusing on improving understanding of M.E. In addition, Action for M.E. previously received £300,000 from the Scottish Government’s Transforming Self-Management Fund, to build confidence and reduce isolation in people affected by ME.
This is a good start for this long-neglected and misunderstood condition but it is vital that there is concerted pressure across the UK. I called upon the UK Government to step up and increase awareness and understanding of this condition as well as fund research into its causes to allow us to improve treatment and diagnosis so we can make the progress those affected by this much misunderstood condition, deserve.