North East Fife MP Wendy Chamberlain called on the UK government to recognise the neuropsychiatric conditions PANS and PANDAS today at Prime Minister’s Questions, and raised the case of a 9-year-old constituent.
PANS and PANDAS affect children and are triggered by a misdirected immune response to an often mild viral or bacterial infection. They can result in a number of potentially severe symptoms including anxiety, tics, depression, developmental regression, symptoms of acute-onset OCD and eating disorders.
There is currently no uniform recognition or treatment for the condition in the UK. While WHO guidance recognises the condition and recommends treatment with anti-biotics, this has not yet been adopted by the NHS across the UK. As a result many children are being treated for their individual symptoms, often with anti-psychotic medication causing side effects.
At today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Wendy Chamberlain raised the case of a 9-year-old girl suffering from the condition. She called on the government to commit to recognise the condition and adopt the WHO guidance. Dominic Raab, who was standing in for Rishi Sunak, promised to write with a full response and arrange a meeting with the relevant minister.
Vicky Burford, Chair of Trustees of PANS PANDAS UK said:
“We welcome Wendy Chamberlain’s intervention on behalf of the thousands of children who are needlessly suffering with these truly devastating conditions. The current lack of recognition and appropriate treatment pathways in the UK ruin childhoods. We are delighted that the Government has offered to meet with Wendy, and we hope that the urgency of creating dedicated clinics and clear service provision within the NHS will prompt decisive action.”
Speaking at PMQs, Wendy Chamberlain said:
“A little girl in my constituency, only 9-years-old, developed a bacterial infection just before Christmas but thereafter very distressing symptoms occurred: OCD, she has intrusive thoughts, she hasn’t washed, dressed or properly eaten since Christmas. We believe this to be PANS PANDAS. And although health is devolved and I am seeking support for her, part of the lottery and the anti-psychotic medication that is often given in this condition, despite the fact that broad-based anti-biotics have been proven to work, is because no part of the UK has implemented World Health Organisation ICD-11. Will the government commit to looking at this so that other children across the UK don’t need to suffer in such a way?”
She later added:
“I know from working with constituents how serious and distressing PANS PANDAS can be. It is important to raise awareness of the condition, but official recognition and appropriate treatment guidance is absolutely essential. Too many children are suffering in a terrible lottery, potentially being given anti-psychotic medication when broad-based anti-biotics would work.
“I will continue to press the government and I look forward to meeting with ministers to discuss this further.”