ME history was made this week in the historic capital of Scotland when delegates at the Scottish Liberal Democrats autumn conference voted to support conference motion SC5: Investing in ME – Recognition, Research, and Education. So it’s official, the motion, drawn up in consultation with #MEAction Scotland, is now party policy. It is a hugely encouraging result and one that will hopefully pave the way for other political parties in Scotland and the UK to follow.
#MEAction Scotland had a stand at the event, and our team of volunteers worked hard throughout the day to provide information and educate MSPs and voting party members.
The motion, moved by party member Emma Walker and summated by Alex Cole-Hamilton, MSP, called for NHS Scotland to:
- Remove Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) from the Scottish Good Practice Statement (SGPS) and for their abolition as treatments for ME from all healthcare services across Scotland;
- For investment from the Scottish Chief Scientist Office in a biomedical research programme directly in proportion to the burden of disease;
- For the Scottish Government to invest in a centre of excellence (focusing on research and care), and;
- For the Scottish Government to review NHS Education Scotland’s approach to training and educational material before committing to a programme of GP training and education in ME across the country.
Watch the Motion
An amendment to the motion was considered in two parts: the first of which called for pacing to be included in the SGPS as an evidence-based treatment, and the second called for the retention of CBT in the SGPS. In her speech to conference, Emma Walker urged delegates to vote against the amendments and the first part of the amendment fell (i.e. was unsuccessful). However, the second part of the amendment was approved, albeit by the slimmest of margins – a single vote. Conference then voted overwhelmingly to support the motion (as amended) meaning that it now becomes official Scottish Liberal Democrat party policy.
We hope that this is just the beginning and that other political parties in Scotland and in the UK can be persuaded to table motions about ME at their own party conferences. This isn’t necessarily as daunting as it might at first sound – after all, the Lib Dem motion came about as the result of a conversation at the school gates! (Read about this here).
More photos and videos of the day and speeches can be seen here on our page: