ME/CFS, and student social workers taking action

  • Post last modified:March 2, 2024
  • Reading time:6 mins read

The Canary is excited to share the latest edition of our letters page. This is where we publish people’s responses to the news and politics, or anything else they want to get off their chest. We’ve now opened the letters page up so anyone can submit a contribution. As always, if you’d like to subscribe to the Canary – starting from £5 a month – to support truly radical and independent media, then you can do that here:

Subscribe here

This week’s letters

This week we have people’s thoughts on myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and how medical professionals discriminate against women, and student social workers taking action. 

ME: the “whiny woman syndrome”

National Institute for Health and Care Research, 24 August 2023:

“Women with ME/CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome] tend to have more symptoms and co-occurring conditions than men. This is according to initial results from the world’s largest study of the disease”.

“It has long been known that women are more likely to have ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome). But the DecodeME study has shown for the first time how their experience differs from men”.

“The study also shows that women who have had ME/CFS for more than 10 years are more likely to experience more severe symptoms as they age”.

”The study confirmed the well-established sex bias among ME/CFS patients, with women making up 83.5% of respondents”.


”ME/CFS is a long-term neurological condition where an excessive increase in symptoms can be triggered by normal levels of exertion. It is estimated to affect more than a quarter of a million people in the UK, of all ages and from all social and economic backgrounds. Its key feature, called post-exertional malaise, is a delayed dramatic worsening of symptoms following minor physical effort. Other symptoms include pain, brain fog and extreme energy limitation that does not improve with rest”.


All politicians (elected or unelected) and the medical profession discriminate against ailments suffered only by women or by far more women than men.

Women are far more likely to be told by doctors that their ailment is all in the mind and not real, taking longer to be diagnosed.

Medical research has a stigma against women’s ailments, as medical school teaches the prejudice of the ‘whiny woman’ syndrome.

Seeking executive founders from women born especially in the 1970s and 1980s, please, to bring into existence by swift registration the From Infants to Over 50s party, with unique women’s and pensioners’ issues policies.

The executive founders would bring into existence the greatest government since Clement Attlee’s (1945-1951) government and uniquely the highest Suffragette political party ever in parliament.

Only a political party including the greatest Grey Vote pension/money policies can beat Labour/Lib Dems/Greens in this year’s general election, as we are the last age group sufficiently turning out to vote or keeping even registered to vote.

The Tories know they will be wiped out.

Please contact me through the below website, which holds Jeremy Corbyn’s 2017-19 manifestos, updated by the people of all ages and the female Grey Vote of us 1950s and 1960s pension campaign ladies:

Christine Williams, via email

Students demand publication of government funding report

Social work students campaigning for bursaries while working on placements in the public sector have called for publication of a Government report into the options available.

In a letter to MSPs on the petitions committee, which is due to consider the campaign again at its next meeting, the students urge MSPs on the Committee to put down written questions in Parliament to formally request the review findings be made public.

The report was commissioned by Ministers to examine the options available to them to ensure students working on the front line of social work are fairly compensated for the vital work they do.

In a letter on 30 August, the Office of the Chief Social Work Adviser set out that: “The review of practice learning finance commissioned by the SSSC was due to report in August but has been delayed; however the review has so far met with various stakeholders, including SASW, SWU and representatives of your campaign. Emerging insights have been shared with Scottish Government and are informing wider work on social work education improvements – we will share any conclusions with you in due course.”

David Grimm and Lucy Challoner, the students behind a Scottish Parliament petition calling for reform wrote to MSPs to state:

“We understand that the wheels of Government can sometimes move slowly, but this review was commissioned in June 2023 and evidence was submitted over the summer, so we are unable to understand why it was not able to be published in time for the 2024/25 Budget cycle”.

“If the review is still somehow delayed, we would urge MSPs to formally request that the ‘emerging insights’ which the Minister has been privy to are published instead and a deadline for publication of the review is confirmed.”

The students point out that at the end of the day, the Minister and the Government will need to make funding available to enable this policy to happen. They have also urged MSPs on the Committee to call the Minister to give evidence in person on this issue and to ask him to explain why the Government is allowing a straightforward policy decision to drift.

David Grimm commented:

“Every day that the Government fails to make a decision, the situation for social work students gets worse. Universities are continuing to refer social work students to discretionary funds to live on day to day – which in themselves are running out due to the pressures being put on them”.

“A damning report by the Scottish Association of Social Work highlighted further challenges for students on placements.”

Social Workers Union, via email

Want to get involved? Email membership(at) and we’ll publish your letters, too! Terms and conditions of publication apply.

Source link