MP meets with disability campaigners in Parliament

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30 Jan 2019

Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood has met with disability campaigners in Parliament to discuss Energy-Limiting Chronic Illness (ELCI) and energy impairment – the preferred terms among people with long-term health conditions causing significant fatigue, energy limitation, pain and cognitive fatigue which cannot be mitigated by medical treatment, such as ME and Fibromyalgia.

Margaret Greenwood, who is also Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, met with Catherine Hale and Stef Benstead who lead the Chronic Illness Inclusion Project (CIIP).

The CIIP is hosted by the Centre for Welfare Reform and supported by Big Lottery via the Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning programme.

The research will inform a chronic illness manifesto due by 2020 and aims to spearhead a user-led movement to influence policies and perceptions around energy-limiting chronic illness.

The project has a particular focus on social security and employment for people with chronic illness. Campaigners explained how participants in a recent focus group identified the current welfare system as the main disabling barrier they faced. They were concerned about negative attitudes and unnecessary restriction on their lives.

They also said how, despite impairment of stamina, fatigue and breathing being the second most common form of impairment experienced by disabled people in the UK, people with ELCI are rarely considered as a group requiring specific policy solutions, comparable to say, mental health or sensory impairment.

The project aims to address this gap in representation and give campaigners a voice in the decisions and policies that affect them.

Margaret Greenwood said:

“I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with Catherine and Stef and to hear about their project.

“Energy-limiting health conditions can be extremely difficult for people to manage and often have an impact on whether or not they are able to stay in work.

“This can be a real blow to the people affected and their families. It really is important that policy reflects the realities of people’s lives and that suitable support is provided.

“The CIIP project is a really important piece of work and I look forward to hearing more from Catherine and Stef as it develops.

“I would also welcome hearing from any of my constituents who might be interested in the project or who may have views on the issues and barriers that people with energy-limiting long-term health conditions face in our society.

“Please do get in touch if you or a member of your family is affected by an energy-limiting chronic health condition.”

Margaret Greenwood MP can be contacted by email or by telephone 0151 792 3416.