Written Answers. - Health Services.

Micheál Martin


178 Mr. Martin asked the Minister for Health if he has satisfied himself with the current state of services for patients with ME/CFS; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16165/96]

Limerick East): Myalgic encephalomyelitis — also known as chronic fatigue syndrome and in popular discourse as “yuppie flu”— is a chronic debilitating disease that is marked in the majority of cases by sudden onset of fatigue and flu like symptoms. Symptoms subsequently relapse and remit and may persist for years. Physical examination may reveal little by way of clinical symptoms except for minor and non-specific abnormalities in an apparently well patient. The syndrome tends to affect previously fit adults between 20 and 40 years but no age is excluded. The treatment for the condition is non-specific and is aimed at alleviating symptoms and helping patients to adjust to the chronic nature of the illness. People with ME/CFS can avail of services provided in the normal course of health service provision through the health boards.

Last year officials of my Department met representatives of the Irish ME Trust regarding their concerns relating to increasing awareness of ME. As agreed at that meeting my Department gave detailed information on ME provided by the ME Trust to the Irish College of General Practitioners for circulation to its members. Greater awareness of the condition should lead to faster diagnosis and more effective treatment.