New Welsh Government Advisory Group for ME/CFS and pain
2014 Task & Finish Group Report
It is five years since the Welsh Government published a Task & Finish Report giving Health Boards an action plan for improving services for ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia.
WAMES has been a member of the national advisory group for the T&FG Report – the All Wales Implementation Group (AWIG) – which has met 4 times a year with representatives from Health Boards and government.
WAMES has also been actively challenging individual Health Boards to implement the recommendations, with little success. Health Boards have repeatedly ignored calls from patients and government to take ME service planning seriously.
New advisory group
The Welsh Government has now decided to take a different approach and merge three groups (Persistent Pain, Arthritis and ME/CFS and FM) into one advisory group. The aim will be to report to the Chief Medical Officer on issues the conditions share and bespoke issues relating to specific conditions. Established channels of communication will then be used to engage with Health Boards.
It is hoped the new group will be established by April 2020 and the new structure will be monitored for effectiveness after sufficient time has passed.
In addition Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) will be in attendance at the new group so they understand the issues surrounding education, training and workforce development.
The Welsh Government research and development team – Health and Care Research Wales – have confirmed funding is available for well designed research projects.
WAMES has questions about whether this new group will be more effective in enlisting Health Board commitment to providing care for people with ME than previous approaches, but we are pleased that the Welsh Government recognises the need to find a better way of working.
Kevin Francis, the Policy lead for ME in the Welsh Government is happy to meet with groups who support people living with ME, FM and pain conditions. He wishes to better understand the issues for those living with these conditions. Please let Jan know if you wish to take up this offer. firstname.lastname@example.org