On Tuesday 15th January, the Southend West MP called on the Government to increase investment and awareness of Fibromyalgia. Speaking in a debate in Parliament, Sir David about the importance of raising awareness of the chronic condition and ensuring all patients get the right support and treatment.
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that can cause sufferers to experience extreme fatigue, muscle pain, and cognitive difficulties. It is estimated that over 2.7 million people in the UK live with Fibromyalgia, yet the condition is little understood. The condition is often overlooked by GPs, and patients in the UK can wait on average 3-5 years to get a diagnosis. Sir David raised the issue of awareness amongst medical professionals, saying that ‘lack of awareness leads not only to many suffering in silence, but to their often receiving inadequate support and treatment.’ The MP also explained how patients were being let down by current clinical pathways, leading to long delay for treatment. In Southend, there is currently no single streamlined care pathway meaning patients are experiencing very different routes to access services.
The debate in Parliament follows a petition organised by Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins to get Fibromyalgia officially recognised as a disability. MPs across all parties spoke with sufferers themselves about the campaign, and agreed to meet with the Disability Minister Sarah Newton to push for the changes. Sir David was joined after the debate a constituent from Southend West, who is one of those leading the campaign.
Speaking during the debate, Sir David reiterated the importance of awareness, research and support for the debilitating condition and urged the Government to do more. In his speech, he summed up by saying ‘with the right understanding, investment and attention, we can do more to ensure that fibromyalgia gets the treatment it deserves.’
A full transcipt of Sir David's contribution of the debate can be found at the following link: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-01-15/debates/02089EEE-DA76-…