I refer to the letter ‘Health Ministry must stop dragging its feet’ (The Sunday Times of Malta, March 9) by Rebecca Sultana on behalf of ME Sufferers Malta.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological illness. This acquired illness is characterised by a number of symptoms including post-exertional exhaustion, neurological impairments, sleep disturbance and occasionally perceptual as well as motor disturbances.

The Health Minister commissioned a working party a few months back to address a number of issues.

This project has been driven by the needs of people living with fibromyalgia and myalgic enephalomelitis. It began with the establishment of a set of key principles for care based on the concept of a patient-centred service development.

These key principles affirm that patients are individuals who need different types of advice and support at different times; and who need integrated services providing advice and support that cover all aspects of managing and living with the condition – clinical, personal, social and employment and education.

These principles will lead to the development of standards that not only recognise that health services play a key role in supporting people to maintain or return to employment or education, but that people with these conditions have wide-ranging needs.

The composition of the working party is wide and comprehensive, including specialists in neurology, psychiatry, rheumatology, family medicine, psychology, pharmacy, nursing, occupational therapy and physiotherapy. There are also representatives of the ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia Alliance Malta as well as of the Malta Health Network.

All members have voluntarily given up many hours of their valuable time over the past months to try and create a better future for these sufferers.

Additionally, although to date there are no recognised treatments for ME, on March 7, a Legal Notice was published in the Government Gazette for fibromyalgia and ME to be included as Schedule V illnesses under the Social Security Act. This will allow sufferers to be prescribed adjunctive medicines commonly used in both conditions.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us