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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Health Education

Question for Department of Health

UIN 110590, tabled on 31 October 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps the Government is taking to raise awareness of myalgic encephalomyelitis among (a) healthcare professionals and (b) the general public.

Answered on

8 November 2017

There is information readily available on chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) for both healthcare professionals and the general public via NHS Choices website. Further information is also provided in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) clinical guidance which can be found via their website. This information is provided in formats suitable for both professionals and the public. Both the NHS Choices and NICE guidance can be found at the following links:

On 20 September 2017, NICE announced plans to undertake a full review of the guidance to ensure it reflects the latest available evidence.

Education and training is also an important feature in building the awareness of clinical professionals. In terms of education and training, the General Medical Council sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours that new United Kingdom medical graduates must be able to demonstrate and Royal Medical Colleges, such as the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) set the standards for postgraduate medical education in general practice. General practice is where most patients with CFS/ME are likely to be managed, and the condition is identified as a key area of clinical knowledge in the RCGP Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) content guide. The AKT is a summative assessment of the knowledge base that underpins general practice in the United Kingdom within the context of the National Health Service and is a key part of general practitioner’s qualifying exams.

Once fully qualified, clinicians are responsible for ensuring their own clinical knowledge remains up-to-date and for identifying learning needs as part of their continuing professional development. This activity should include taking account of new research and developments in guidance, such as that produced by NICE.