By Steve Topple in The Canary.
A parliamentary question from an SNP MP has forced the government to reveal some disturbing facts about its funding for research into a chronic disease. But when put together with other figures, it reveals a crisis in an area of UK healthcare.
A chronic disease
Glasgow North West MP Carol Monaghan asked a written question of health secretary Jeremy Hunt, in relation to research funding for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, commonly referred to as ME/CFS or ME. It is a chronic systemic neuroimmune disease, affecting an estimated 17 million people worldwide and around 250,000 people in the UK.
ME has been fraught with controversy. For decades (and often still to this day), the medical profession has not properly recognised it. People living with ME have been disbelieved, stigmatised, given incorrect treatment, or ultimately told it’s ‘all in their heads’. But in recent years campaigning by people living with ME and their supporters has stepped up, with Monaghan being a part of that movement.
how much funding from the public purse he plans to allocate to biomedical research into [ME] in the current financial year.
Caroline Dinenage MP, minister of state for the Department for Health and Social Care (DoHSC), answered on Hunt’s behalf. She did not reveal how much the government will spend on ME research this financial year. But she did detail how much the government spent in the three financial years from 2014/15 through to 2016/17.
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