HIDDEN THOUSANDS DEVASTATED BY M.E.
NEW research published this week by the UK's leading M.E.
charity, Action for M.E., suggests that a hidden 55,000 people in
Britain are so severely affected by the illness that they're either
bed-bound or house-bound.
M.E. also has a huge economic impact. The survey suggests that 77%
of the total 240,0001 people in the UK with M.E. have lost their
jobs because of the illness, with a cost to the nation of £6.4
billion a year. The 55,000 severely affected by M.E. are
likely to have been ill for many years, and are often too ill to
attend hospitals or doctors surgeries. They are also likely to
suffer from severe pain, which few people realise is regularly
associated with the illness.
The survey findings, published as part of Action for M.E.'s
campaign: "M.E. - More Than You Know", provide the most
up-to-date, detailed analysis on the severity and impact of the
illness ever carried out in this country.
Trish Taylor, Chair of Action for M.E., says:- "M.E.
devastates lives. It robs people of their ability to work, and
destroys their close relationships. It
leaves many sufferers in wheelchairs and some, who are unable to
feed themselves, have to be tube-fed. M.E. is much, much more
than feeling 'a bit tired'. And if that is what you believe
then today we challenge you to think again. To look with new eyes at
those who live with the severe pain and suffering this disease
The results are released alongside a separate GB-wide Ipsos MORI
survey, which showed that 35% of the general public has never even
heard of M.E.
when prompted, despite there being almost 3 times as many people
with M.E. as M.S. Only 5% of the respondents who were aware of
M.E. were aware of how widespread it is (stating that between
200,000 and 300,000 people suffered from M.E. in the
UK), with 34% believing there were less than 50,000 sufferers in the
M.E. is a painful and debilitating illness, affecting around 1 in
every 250 people in the UK. The illness affects many body systems
and their functions,
particularly the nervous and immune systems. In 2002, the British
Government gave formal recognition to the illness. It is also
recognised by the World Health Organisation as a neurological
condition. M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Encephalopathy) is
also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and sometimes diagnosed
as Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS).
Severity of illness: Action for M.E.'s survey of 2,200 people
with M.E. found that 23% of them were either bed- or housebound.
Those who'd had M.E. the longest i.e. over 10 years - 49%
respondents - were the most likely to describe
their illness as severe or very severe (28%). 74% of all respondents
were either bed- or housebound when their illness was at its worst.
Pain: 67% of respondents experience pain on a constant or
daily basis. 73% of respondents reported experiencing severe
or very severe pain when their illness was at its worst.
Loss of employment: Before developing M.E., 63% of those
questioned worked full-time, compared to 6% after. Over a quarter of
those who lost their jobs were either dismissed or forced to resign.
Symptoms: 83% of respondents experienced severe flu-like
malaise when their illness was at its worst, and 55% still do. 50%
also list digestive
problems as a symptom of the illness. 89% felt that M.E. had
affected their ability to learn new things - even amongst those who
described their symptoms as mild.
BUSINESSES LOSING FAITH IN POLICE
A NEW report has revealed that 41.5% of North West small
businesses suffering crime in the past year haven't reported
incidents to police. Almost 75% of those who were victims told
the Federation of Small Businesses that they didn't bother reporting
crimes such as employee theft because experience had taught them "it
wouldn't achieve anything".
The crime statistics reported to the FSB rank the North West as the
4th highest crime hotspot in a total of 12 UK regions with well over
half of small businesses experiencing some kind of crime in the past
12 months. Thousands of businesses throughout the region were
quizzed for the Federation's "Lifting the Barriers to Growth"
survey. Figures for the North West also highlighted that a
further 46% did not report crimes against their business because
they did not think police would find the criminals.
This shows a marked reduction in the confidence small businesses
have in the police - 2 years ago, when the survey was last
conducted, the figure stood at 28%.
The figures also revealed that a 3rd of businesses experiencing
crime did not bother to make an insurance claim despite almost 60%
of businesses experiencing some kind of crime in the past year.
Vehicle theft, graffiti and vandalism were by far the most common
crimes with over a 3rd of FSB members experiencing at least one of
The FSB - which represents around 18,500 businesses in Manchester,
Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire and Merseyside - believes the figures
are a clear wake-up call to Government to do more to protect small
businesses and improve their faith in the criminal justice system.
North West policy manager Paul Henly said:- "The Government
has tried to tackle crime against small businesses in recent years
but our research shows that employers want visible measures such as
more police rather than simply locally funded crime prevention
measures. For instance, there's a lot of focus on schemes such
as Business Watch and Shop Watch, but only three per cent of our
members believe that these were very effective. With over 60%
of businesses experiencing crime in one form or another, there are
clearly a lot of employers who are simply tolerating criminal
activity as another cost they have to face.
The true cost of crime against businesses is being masked by apathy
but it also hides a bigger problem - crime is a major deterrent for
investors. While local authorities and development agencies
spend millions of pounds trying to attract major businesses to the
region, small businesses, which also employ thousands of people can
be put off from investing if they feel an area is plagued by crime."
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