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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S5W-28898
Asked by: Anas Sarwar, Glasgow, Scottish Labour
Date lodged: 6 May 2020

Question

To ask the Scottish Government what support it provides to people who are diagnosed with ME, and what impact the COVID-19 outbreak is having on access to this.

Current status: Answered by Joe FitzPatrick on 15 May 2020


Answer

The Scottish Good Practice Statement (SGPS) on ME/CFS provides information to assist professionals and members of the public with the diagnosis and treatment of this condition at: https://www.scot.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/GoodPracticeStatement.pdf

Last year we published a National Framework 'Neurological Care and Support in Scotland 2020-2025' that sets out an overview of current provision informed by lived experience engagement nationally with 17 commitments across five aims detailing how we will work with stakeholders and partners to drive improvement in health and social care from diagnosis to anticipatory care planning needs. Further information is available at https://www.gov.scot/publications/neurological-care-support-scotland-framework-action-2020-2025/. While this is not condition specific, it defines neurological conditions in line with the World Health Organisation and ICD-10 classification codes of which ME is included.

The findings from two projects we are currently undertaking with the Scottish Health Council and Public Health Scotland, coupled with the forthcoming updated National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guideline that takes account of latest evidence, will inform developments in care and support for ME/CFS in Scotland.

We are committed to ensuring people receive the correct information about the level of risk to them if they become infected by COVID-19 and what actions they should take to protect themselves if they are classed as at the highest risk of severe illness from the virus. We have published advice for people with long-term health conditions, including neurological conditions, at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-tailored-advice-for-those-who-live-with-specific-medical-conditions/ . The guidance has been widely circulated to clinicians, organisations supporting people with neurological conditions, including ME/CFS, for them to disseminate through their networks.

We have been clear that patient safety remains the utmost priority and NHS Scotland continues to deal with urgent non-Covid related referrals as well as providing on-going essential care provision. NHS Boards have mobilised their activity including the use of telephone and video consultations to minimise face to face contact unless absolutely necessary. The Chief Nursing Officer in Scotland has also written to NHS Board Nurse Directors to ensure they prioritise community support for the most vulnerable people to enable them to manage their conditions and remain in their own homes. We continue to work with NHS Boards and Integrated Joint Boards alongside the wider neurological community to understand and address the emerging implications from the COVID-19 pandemic.