Clarification from Dr William Weir

Daisymay

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Clarification from Dr William Weir

Margaret Williams 7th December 2010



Dr William Weir, Consultant Physician of 10, Harley Street, London W1G 9PF (who specialises in ME/CFS) wishes to correct the statement made in an article in The Guardian on 4th December 2010 by the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Yvette Cooper MP.

In an interview (?There?s nothing better than politics?), Yvette Cooper MP is quoted as saying about the time she suffered from ME:

"... But my consultant did say that over 90% [of ME patients] made a full recovery, and it never came back. It's one of those things you hope people suffering from it now will realise..." (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/dec/04/yvette-cooper-guardian-interview).

It is in the public domain that Yvette Cooper?s consultant was Dr William Weir, since Ms Cooper herself made this information public in an interview about her illness in the Daily Mail about ten years ago.

Dr Weir is concerned about this statement in two respects: (1) he did not give Ms Cooper such advice and (2) it is untrue that 90% of ME/CFS patients make a full recovery.

Dr Weir points out that the statistic Ms Cooper is probably (mis)quoting is ?Of those who recover, 90% tend to do so in the first year of the illness?, but in those who remain unwell after the first year, there is a lesser tendency towards recovery.

It should be said that at the All Party Parliamentary Group on ME (APPGME) meeting held on 21st October 2009 in Committee Room 21 at the House of Commons, Ms Cooper was made aware of the many problems faced by people with ME/CFS in relation to the Department for Work and Pensions, specifically the way in which a patient?s own GP and specialist were progressively being removed from the opinion-gathering process and replaced by doctors who know nothing of the patient?s medical background and even less about ME/CFS. In response, she noted these concerns but did not indicate that there would be any shift in the DWP position (ME Association summary of APPGME meeting: http://tinyurl.com/ycnw6q5).

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pictureofhealth

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Thanks for the clarification Daisy May.

Did Dr Weir write this directly to the Editor, or letters page, of the Guardian in response to Yvette Cooper's comments?
 
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/series/correctionsandclarifications

correction in today's Guardian:

• Yvette Cooper, the shadow foreign secretary, was quoted in an interview as having been told by her consultant physician "that over 90% [of ME patients] made a full recovery". Dr William Weir, her consultant physician, has asked us to make clear that in fact around 90% of those who recover do so in the first year (The Saturday interview, 4 December, page 41).
 

Enid

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Well at least he has corrected it. Too much loose talk here and we are old hands 10 - 20 years.
 

Daisymay

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For information, may be reposted.



From: William Weir
Sent: Wednesday, December 08, 2010 11:44 PM
To: reader@guardian.co.uk
Subject: Yvette Cooper and ME/CFS - misquote


Sir

I enjoyed reading the recent Yvette Cooper interview. Nonetheless as her consultant when she suffered from ME/CFS (which she put into the public domain in an article in the Independent and also the Daily Mail) I have to put right the assertion that "90% of people recover from ME" The correct statistic is that 90% of recoveries occur in the first year, not 90% of people recover. I would be very grateful if you could arrange to publish this correction as the misconception that "90% of people recover" distorts the true picture of a disease in our community which wrecks the lives of in excess of two hundred thousand people, both sufferers and their carers.

William RC Weir


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Reply from the Guardian:

From: <reader@guardian.co.uk>
Sent: Thursday, December 09, 2010 10:57 AM
To: William Weir
Subject: Re: Yvette Cooper and ME/CFS - misquote

Dear Mr Weir,

Thanks for your email-it is very helpful to have the correction directly from you. I will correct it, probably tomorrow.

Best wishes

Chris Elliott
Readers' editor


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http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/series/correctionsandclarifications

Corrections and clarifications column editor
The Guardian, Friday 10 December 2010

• Yvette Cooper, the shadow foreign secretary, was quoted in an interview as having been told by her consultant physician "that over 90% [of ME patients] made a full recovery". Dr William Weir, her consultant physician, has asked us to make clear that in fact around 90% of those who recover do so in the first year (The Saturday interview, 4 December, page 41).


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