Hoogervorst: no official recognition of M.E.
4 February 2005AMSTERDAM — Dutch Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst has said acknowledging Chronic Fatigue Syndrome — also known as M.E. — as an official disorder would be risky.
4 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — Dutch Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst has said acknowledging Chronic Fatigue Syndrome — also known as M.E. — as an official disorder would be risky.
He made his comments in newspaper Trouw after the Dutch Health Council, or Gezondsheidraad, advised in a report that M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) should be accorded official recognition.
Hoogervorst countered by saying there was insufficient scientific support to acknowledge the existence of M.E. as a separate medical complaint. He said the Health Council had come to a "not very responsible conclusion" in relation to the issue.
"Understand me: there is extraordinarily clear opinion by which it appears the complaints or symptoms people with M.E. have differ very little from those suffered by people with burnout or nervous exhaustion. But we are not going to recognise M.E. as long as there is no convincing scientific evidence of an illness," Hoogervorst said.
The minister said that it would be very risky and possibly counterproductive to grant M.E. official recognition. He said people might "close themselves off" in the clinical picture of the condition as a physical ailment — something that could hinder recovery.
The accepted medical treatment for M.E., he said, is cognitive behavioural therapy. Many patients refuse to undergo it because they feel their ailment is completely physical.
"Many patients want to see M.E. primarily as a physical disorder. It is difficult to convince the wider world that their complaints have, in part, a psychological cause," he said.
Hoogervorst said regardless of whether M.E. was accorded a separate status or not, insurers should still pay to treat people with the condition.
But because it is considered to be treatable, people with M.E. may have a reduced chance of being granted WAO work disability benefit.
Ynske Jansen, chairperson of the ME and Work Disability support group, expressed disappointment and"great anger" at the minister's refusal to recognise M.E., Novum Nieuws reported.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, M.E.