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Initial Launch of APPG

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Fibromyalgia was officially launched on March 13th 2001 at Portcullis House, Westminster. 

Nick Palmer, MP for Broxtowe, chaired the meeting and said there were 2 main objectives for the APPG.

1. To make all MPs aware of FM and its problems (so far 80 MPs have signed up for the APPG)
2. To encourage research into the diagnosis and treatment of FM.

However, money for this won’t come automatically because of the APPG but it can influence debate.  There will be a motion in Parliament urging MPs to sign and get more research etc. 

Yvette Cooper (MP for Castleford), Minister for Public Health, said that too little is known and there is too little awareness of FM.  We know that 1% are affected and how distressing it is.  The APPG will have an impact on the NHS by 1) Research 2) Causes 3) Treatment 4) How to manage it 5) How to spread support.  The General Medical Council will support high quality research projects.  At present there are none for FM but there is a task force for self management programmes for chronic illnesses.  NHSdirect is trying to spread best practice and the need to know what information could be provided.  The NHS and DHS need to learn from patients (as with ME in the past) which is the best way forward.  There is no miracle cure.  The new electronic library for Health will provide access to reliable information.

In summing up Yvette said that the APPG has a huge agenda.  In her experience the most successful APPGs focus on one issue at a time. You have to decide what you want to achieve and what would help most – whether it is to raise awareness generally or create a benchmark for FM.

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