The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including diagnosis for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and fibromyalgia. It is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality.
Diagnosing both ME/CFS and fibromyalgia can be difficult as there is no specific diagnostic test that can be used, and the symptoms can vary from person to person. Diagnosis is usually made by taking a medical history, checking symptoms and carrying out a physical examination. Other tests may be used to rule out medical conditions with similar symptoms. The NIHR has funded projects on ME/CFS and fibromyalgia totalling £4.3 million in the last five years (£2.5 million for ME/CFS and £1.8 million for fibromyalgia) some of which relate to educating general practitioners about diagnosis.