Given the intimation mentioned above that there will be no major changes to the Draft Guideline, it is a matter of grave concern that on 16 th November 2005 Professor Anthony Pinching, Chair of the NHS "CFS/ME" Service Investment Steering Group, informed the All Party Parliamentary Group on ME that "Services will implement the NICE guidelines after these are announced in April 2007".
"Chairman and lead clinician for the programme is Professor Anthony Pinching, a clinical immunologist and Associate Dean for Cornwall at the Peninsula Medical School.
commented: 'The Programme is all about enablement - enabling patients, enabling carers, enabling healthcare professionals: each enabling each other.
By creating a fresh, multi-professional and national collaborative team for CFS/ME patients, we now have a framework on which to base enhanced awareness and education' ".
"Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson said: 'I am very grateful to the way in which Professor Pinching
has led this programme.
The Government's £8.5 million programme to improve services for people with chronic fatigue syndrome/ME has been a tremendous success and has fulfilled its aim to establish clinical networks of expertise.
While 65% of the country now has a specialist CFS/ME service, we are keen that the rest of the country follows suit' ".
"Professor John Tooke, Dean of the Peninsula Medical School
commented: 'The Peninsula Medical School
is proud to have been the host for this important initiative and commends the achievement of Professor Pinching
colleagues across England for developing services for such a disabling condition.
In the Press Release Professor Pinching
refers to "CFS/ME" as a 'beastly illness', but the UK ME community knows that Pinching has a troubling track record in relation to ME/CFS in at least three significant areas:
· in 1989 the Royal College of Physicians
agreed to produce a Report that was designed to discredit alternative and complementary medicine approaches to the treatment of allergies and hypersensitivities (which are commonly seen in ME/CFS).
, then at Barts
in London, was on the committee that produced this Report.
By the autumn of 1991, the Report committee had produced a first draft (Allergy: Conventional and Alternative Concepts).
A leading member of HealthWatch
(the campaigning organisation to which both Simon Wessely and Charles Shepherd belong that is known for its anti-complementary medicine stance) illegally used the draft Report as evidence against a plaintiff in a High Court action even though on 18 th October 1991 solicitors for the Royal College of Physicians
(Field Fisher Waterhouse) had written a letter forbidding use of the draft report, saying: "The College is not in a position to endorse the contents or conclusions of the draft".
The draft Report that Pinching
helped formulate was never released: it came under massive critical review and had to be re-written, as Fellows of the Royal College
described it as "wildly inaccurate" and misleading.
However, the Judge accepted the unauthorised draft, on the strength of which he
found against the Plaintiff
· During his
time as Deputy Chair of the Chief Medical Officer's Working Group, Pinching published an article that effectively pre-empted the conclusions of the CMO's Working Group Report, ie. that the treatment of choice for "CFS/ME" was to be CBT/GET.
stated (i) that CFS
was " not related to ongoing exertion" (ii) that the Oxford criteria were " too narrow" (the Oxford criteria being the case definition of "CFS" that expressly includes psychiatric fatigue but expressly excludes neurological disease); (iii) that " over-investigation can be counterproductive to the management of these patients, causing them to seek abnormal test results to validate their illness "; (iv) that "it is helpful to establish with the patient a way of thinking about the illness "; (v) that " the benefits of graded exercise have been shown by randomised controlled trials "; (vi) that "complementary therapists reinforce unhelpful illness beliefs " and (vii) "the essence of treatment is activity management and graded rehabilitation " (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Anthony J Pinching
· Also during his
tenure of the Deputy Chairmanship of the CMO's Working Group Report, Pinching asserted --- in defiance of ever-increasing calls from international experts in ME/CFS for urgent sub-grouping of the heterogeneous label "CFS" - that there was no need for such sub-grouping, which he
claimed was nothing more than "semantics" (see CMO's Report, Annex 4).
For illustrations of the call by international experts for sub-grouping, see www.meactionuk.org.uk/Subgroups.htm
Despite - or possibly because of - this track record, Pinching was appointed Chairman of the CFS/ME Service Implementation Steering Group for the new Centres, as well as being Lead Adviser on CFS/ME to the Department of Health.
In the NICE Draft Guideline, Pinching
is singled out for special acknowledgement.
To those of a sceptical disposition, this would appear to be history repeating itself, especially given Pinching's
known preference for CBT/GET in "CFS
This prediction is supported not only by his
confident prophecy in November 2005 to the All Party Parliamentary Group on ME
concerning the implementation of the NICE Guideline
, but also by his
oral submission on 10 th July 2006 to the Gibson Parliamentary Inquiry on ME/CFS.
From the notes taken by those who attended that session (and from their personal reports), Pinching openly and confidently said that he
promotes the NICE Guideline
and fully supports the biopsychosocial model and the implementation of CBT/GET.
This confidence suggests prior knowledge of the outcome of the final Guideline.
It was reported that Pinching also emphasised the need to make sure the new NHS services for "CFS/ME" continue to receive on-going funding, and said that the NICE Guideline
(due in April 2007) would have an effect on how the Centres "manage" CFS/ME patients, ie. that the Centres would be needed to implement the NICE Guideline
It was reported that Pinching
was very proud of the Centres and said that what was now needed was to extend and strengthen the current service by increasing patient through-put, which does not auger well for those with ME/CFS.