Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson Jo-Anne Dobson has hosted the ‘Millions Missing’ Campaign at Stormont - a global protest to demand equality for ME/CFS patients which took place in Cities across the world on 27 September.
Following Tuesday’s demonstration on the steps of Stormont, Mrs Dobson said:
“The sheer passion and drive of campaigners on display at Stormont must be met by real and positive change in the treatment of thousands of patients across Northern Ireland who continue to be denied equality.
“Our Executive has a duty to listen and to act and I truly hope that they will. However, as many patients continue to suffer untreated, isolated and without hope, the ‘Millions Missing’ campaign aims to shine a spotlight into the darkness and provide that elusive hope.
“The campaign calls for change, for funding and for medical education. It is not unreasonable to ask for clinical trials into ME to advance our understanding and to lead towards improved services, clinical care and treatment for patients. But above all, this patient-led campaign seeks a commitment from Government to no longer turn a blind eye to suffering.
“We were heartened last week by the announcement of a new dedicated care pathway for fibromyalgia sufferers in Northern Ireland. While of course the devil will be in the detail, this has come about through a long-term campaign by patients and charities, not least the members of Hope 4 ME and Fibro Northern Ireland.
“This Executive has been painfully slow to act on this matter and I hope that the improvements in services available to patients - including advice and guidance - will swiftly follow. However, the time for advice and guidance alone is past. Patients need confidence that change is coming and that services will improve.
“As a long-term supporter of local Fibromyalgia and ME charities I sincerely hope that movement on health issues which often comes far too slowly, will begin to happen in Northern Ireland. I pledge to continue to raise these issues as a member of the Health Committee and renew my commitment to keep this issue firmly at the forefront of our local health agenda.”