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19 December 2006

Benefits and Work has obtained a copy of the final draft of new guidance on CFS/ME to be issued to DLA decision makers in February 2007. The document suggests that very few claimants with CFS/ME should qualify for any award of DLA.

The seven page guide claims that graded exercise therapy and activity therapy is 'helpful in the majority of adult ambulant patients' whilst cognitive behavioural therapy 'is helpful in the majority of adult and adolescent outpatients'. The prognosis for people with the condition is remarkably good, especially when such treatment is undertaken. Mild cases recover spontaneously or within six months whilst moderately severe conditions should improve significantly with six to twelve months of treatment.

It is the guidance on the effects of the condition on care and mobility needs which will be most distressing to claimants, however.

Decision makers are advised that claimants with mild to moderate conditions will be able to walk 100 metres or more and manage personal care and nutrition, even if more slowly than normal. Only those with a condition so severe that they 'spend most of the day in bed or otherwise immobile, and who may have clinically evident muscle wasting' may need help with personal care and preparing food. In such cases there may also be severely restricted mobility.

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