education, sometimes for years. For many children the disease totally devastates their lives. The greatest suffering of all is the anguish caused by misdiagnosis. On top of the physical and mental stress caused by the disease, sufferers' agonies are compounded by being told that they are well, that there is nothing wrong with them, that they are malingering, or that they are neurotic. It is widely acknowledged that many incidences of suicide result from the refusal of doctors to accept that sufferers are ill from myalgic encephalomyelitis. The Bill is a simple measure which merely requires the Secretary of State to make an annual report to Parliament describing the progress that has been made in investigating the causes, effects, incidence and treatment of ME. Such 168a report would be of enormous value in drawing the attention of the medical profession, sufferers themselves and others to whom sufferers may turn for help to what is known about the illness. I cannot emphasise enough how vital it is to give proper recognition to the condition, as the failure to recognise the reality of the illness causes sufferers such great and wholly unnecessary distress. The following are authentic examples of suffering caused by ME. A mother wrote to me saying: My son aged 18 died from this miserable illness last March. He was away at university and had been ill on and off for two years. It all started with an attack of glandular fever. Now we look back over this time and so many things fit into a pattern. He was an active, bright young man with a zest for living and life. This illness got in his way. She concluded by telling me that her son committed suicide. Then there was Jill from Sussex, who said: I have been to hell and back with this devastating illness. I am still not recognised or getting proper benefits. I have received hundreds of letters about similar experiences from all over Britain, as well as Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. Many well-known persons are afflicted with the disease. Sufferers include the Dean of Westminster; David Provan, a Scottish international footballer who had to retire from a promising career; a famous ballet dancer who is now confined to a wheelchair; and Clare Francis, a well-known adventurer and authoress. I inform the House that one of its Members, my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd (Mr. John), who is a sponsor of the Bill, is a sufferer. I submit that the case for justice for ME sufferers is proved beyond all doubt. I have tried today to resist the temptation to speak in strong terms about the failure of the medical profession to recognise myalgic encephalomyelitis and the failure of the Department of Health and Social Security to recognise the plight of ME sufferers. The sufferers are denied proper recognition, misdiagnosed, vilified, ridiculed and driven to great depths of despair. They look to this House for justice. For them all I commend the Bill to the House. Question put and agreed to. Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Jimmy Hood, Mr. Alfred Morris, Mr. Jack Ashley, Mr. Brynmor John, Mr. Don Dixon, Mr. Alan Meale, Dr. Lewis Moonie, Mr. Sam Galbraith, Ms. Harriet Harman, Mr. Jimmy Wray, Mr. Tom Clarke and Mr. Jerry Hayes. Look again at the first two paragraphs of the above motion - and this is from 1988! The sad fact is that the above motion could have been brought before parliament today. Page 8 of 56 www.investinme.org Invest in ME research (Charity Nr. 1153730)

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