Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ian Swales, MP, has misinterpreted the clarification by the Health Minister

Suzy Chapman said...:

Ian Swales, MP, has evidently misinterpreted the clarification by the Health Minister.


This misinterpretation of Mr Burstow's clarification about the WHO classifications is going to cause a good deal of confusion.

I think Mr Swales needs to scrutinise the response he has received.

The Minister's clarification related to WHO terminology - not to UK government policy.

The issue is this:

During the Westminster Hall debate (4 February 2011) Mr Burstow had said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) uses the composite term "CFS/ME" for this condition. This is incorrect.

WHO does not use the term "CFS/ME" or "ME/CFS".

Mr Burstow later corrected himself in his Written Response of 16 February.

In his response, Mr Burstow clarified that [in the International version of ICD-10] the WHO classifies Myalgic encephalomyelitis and Postviral fatigue syndrome under the same classification - G93.3.

G93.3 sits under the parent category "G93: Other disorders of brain" which is classified in Chapter 6: Diseases of the nervous system.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is indexed in ICD-10: Volume 3: The Alphabetical Index to the G93.3 coding.

So in ICD-10, the WHO classifies all three terms to the same code.

It needs to be understood that Burstow was correcting himself over his mistake in WHO ICD codes - he was not stating UK government position on the relationship between CFS and ME.

He says in his Written Response that:

"The report of the CFS/ME Working Group to the Chief Medical Officer, in January in 2002, suggested that the composite term CFS/ME be used as an umbrella term for this condition, or spectrum of disease. This term is also used by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence for their clinical guidelines."

He does not say that UK government is accepting CFS and ME as two separate diseases/conditions.

Incidently, the forthcoming revision of ICD-10, which will be known as ICD-11, also has all three terms classified within Chapter 6: Diseases of the nervous system, with ME as an Inclusion term to Chronic fatigue syndrome.

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