Doctor Nigel Speight is a semi-retired British doctor based in the North East of England who specialises in Pediatric ME/CFS and has been involved in fighting many child protection cases in which children with ME/CFS were at risk of being removed from their parents. He has acted as a voluntary paediatric medical advisor for many ME/CFS charities.
Awards[edit | edit source]
Writing committees[edit | edit source]
2011 International Consensus Criteria[edit | edit source]
2017 Pediatric Primer[edit | edit source]
Dr. Speight was one of the authors of the 2017 Pediatric Primer published in Frontiers in Pediatrics.
- Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosis and Management in Young People: A Primer by Peter C. Rowe, Rosemary A. Underhill, Kenneth J. Friedman, Alan Gurwitt, Marvin S. Medow, Malcolm S. Schwartz, Nigel Speight, Julian M. Stewart, Rosamund Vallings and Katherine S. Rowe(Full Text)
2016 General Medical Council complaint[edit | edit source]
In 2016 Dr. Speight was subject of a complaint to the General Medical Council, the organisation responsible for maintaining the register of doctors licensed to practice medicine in the UK. The substance of the complaint and the identity of the person who made it were not made public. As a result of the complaint, the GMC imposed limits on Dr Speight's medical license, restricting him to working in NHS posts as a consultant general paediatrician but forbidding him to carry out any work in relation to ME/CFS, including unpaid work. The restriction holds until July 2017.
The ME Association immediately sent a detailed letter to the GMC in support of Dr Speight, and coordinated a further, joint letter of support from ME/CFS charities, professional colleagues and parents of children with ME/CFS in the UK and abroad.
The limits were overturned on appeal.
Background[edit | edit source]
Dr. Speight was born in India, where his father was a missionary doctor. Dr Speight left India when he was 10 and went to secondary school at Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby (Merseyside). He qualified in 1966 from Cambridge and University College Hospital, worked as a junior doctor in London and then taught at the new medical school in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
When he returned to the UK four years later, he changed from Adult Medicine to Paediatrics and did his paediatric training in Newcastle. In 1982 he became a consultant and took up his post in Durham, where he worked for 25 years.
He developed special interests in childhood asthma, food intolerance, child abuse and neglect, emotional and behavioural problems and ADHD.
He retired in 2007 but works in locum posts for several months a year.
He is married and has four children and four grandchildren. He is a keen cyclist, and has cycled in Ecuador, Cuba, Jordan, and South India, and from Land's End to John O'Groats in the UK.
Work in ME/CFS[edit | edit source]
Dr. Speight became interested in ME/CFS from around 1984, when he was consulted by a young girl in a wheelchair who announced that she had ME, which at the time, he knew nothing about. Lectures by Dr. Betty Dowsett, Alan Franklin and Dr. David Bell helped develop his interest in the topic.
Over the next 20 years he saw over 500 cases, all over the UK, and gave numerous lectures to medical audiences around the country on the subject.
He served on the Chief Medical Officer’s Working Party, which reported in 2002, and on the College of Paediatrics Guidelines group. He gave evidence to the Gibson Inquiry and on three occasions talked to the ME interest group at the Scottish Parliament.
He has worked as an honorary paediatric medical adviser for several UK ME/CFS charities, including the ME Association, the Tymes Trust, the 25 Percent ME Group, Action for ME, and the Association of Young People with ME. He resigned from the latter group in 2009 when their “paths diverged”.
Writing about his work, he has said:
“The most distressing cases I have encountered were those in which families were being subjected to Child Protection proceedings. This was usually due to the failure of the local doctors to officially diagnose ME, or for them to diagnose it but to imply it wasn’t a real, i.e., organic condition. This left the families open to alternative explanations such as neglect, emotional abuse or Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. I was involved in more than 20 of these cases around the country and am proud to have been instrumental in reversing the proceedings in all but a small handful.”
Open Letter to The Lancet[edit | edit source]
Two open letters to the editor of The Lancet urged the editor to commission a fully independent review of the PACE trial, which the journal had published in 2011. In 2016, Dr. Speight, along with 41 colleagues in the ME/CFS field, signed the second letter.
- 10 February 2016, An open letter to The Lancet, again - Virology blog
Talks and interviews[edit | edit source]
Dr Speight has recorded a number of video interviews:
- 'Exercise and ME/CFS': 2014 talk given at Bristol Watershed.
- Dr. Nigel Speight: 'Paediatric ME/CFS': 2014 talk given at Stockholm, Sweden.
The following interviews were given (in English) in 2014 with the Dutch group, Wetenschap voor Patienten ("Science for Patients"): (engels gesproken, nederlandse ondertiteling)
- 2014 28. Interview with Dr Nigel Speight / Interview met Dr. Nigel Speight
- 2014 30. Diagnostic tools for ME / Diagnostische handvatten voor ME - Dr. Nigel Speight
- 2014 34. Future and hope - Toekomst en hoop - Dr. Nigel Speight
- 2014 32. ME and children - Part 1 - ME en kinderen deel 1 -Dr. Nigel Speight
- 2014 33. ME and children - Part 2 - ME en kinderen deel 2 - Dr. Nigel Speight
- 2014 29. What is ME and what is CFS? - Dr. Nigel Speight
- 2014 31. ME/CFS and the course of the disease - Dr. Nigel Speight
- Feb 18, 2019 - Dr Nigel Speight interviewed on The ME Show by Gary Burgess on fighting for families whose parents have been accused of abuse, rather than their child's ME being diagnosed (Episode Link)
Notable articles and publications[edit | edit source]
- 2021, Life-Threatening Malnutrition in Very Severe ME/CFS - (Full text)
- 2021, ME/CFS: Past, Present and Future - (Full text)
- 2020, Severe ME in Children - (Full text)
Learn more[edit | edit source]
- Sick and Tired - BBC (TV show featuring Dr Speight)
See also[edit | edit source]
- ME Association
- 25 Percent ME Group
- Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosis and Management in Young People: A Primer
- Medical neglect and abuse
- Fabricated Induced Illness (Munchausen's by Proxy
References[edit | edit source]
- Speight, Nigel (2012), "Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) in Childhood", Voices from the Shadows (website)
- Carruthers, Bruce M.; van de Sande, Marjorie I.; De Meirleir, Kenny L.; Klimas, Nancy G.; Broderick, Gordon; Mitchell, Terry; Staines, Donald; Powles, A. C. Peter; Speight, Nigel; Vallings, Rosamund; Bateman, Lucinda; Baumgarten-Austrheim, Barbara; Bell, David; Carlo-Stella, Nicoletta; Chia, John; Darragh, Austin; Jo, Daehyun; Lewis, Donald; Light, Alan; Marshall-Gradisnik, Sonya; Mena, Ismael; Mikovits, Judy; Miwa, Kunihisa; Murovska, Modra; Pall, Martin; Stevens, Staci (August 22, 2011). "Myalgic encephalomyelitis: International Consensus Criteria". Journal of Internal Medicine. 270 (4): 327–338. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02428.x. ISSN 0954-6820. PMC 3427890. PMID 21777306.
- Rowe, Peter C.; Underhill, Rosemary A.; Friedman, Kenneth J.; Gurwitt, Alan; Medow, Marvin S.; Schwartz, Malcolm S.; Speight, Nigel; Stewart, Julian M.; Vallings, Rosamund; Rowe, Katherine S. (2017), "Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosis and Management in Young People: A Primer", Frontiers in Pediatrics, 5 (121), doi:10.3389/fped.2017.00121
- #MEAction (April 23, 2016), "GMC limits Dr Speight's license", #MEAction
- ME Association (UK) (April 23, 2016), GMC impose conditions on Dr Nigel Speight’s licence to practice
- e-Card to Dr. Nigel Speight, April 27, 2016
- 25% ME Group, Meet our Patrons and Advisors, retrieved April 27, 2016
- Baxter, Helen; Speight, Nigel; Weir, William (2021). "Life-Threatening Malnutrition in Very Severe ME/CFS". Healthcare. 9 (4): 459. doi:10.3390/healthcare9040459.
- Weir, William; Speight, Nigel (2021). "ME/CFS: Past, Present and Future". Healthcare. 9 (8): 984. doi:10.3390/healthcare9080984.
- Speight, Nigel (2020). "Severe ME in Children". Healthcare. 8 (3): 211. doi:10.3390/healthcare8030211.
myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) - A disease often marked by neurological symptoms, but fatigue is sometimes a symptom as well. Some diagnostic criteria distinguish it from chronic fatigue syndrome, while other diagnostic criteria consider it to be a synonym for chronic fatigue syndrome. A defining characteristic of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM), or post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion (PENE), which is a notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others. An estimated 25% of those suffering from ME are housebound or bedbound. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological disease.