I also read it through as you did, even twice:
I don't think Sharpe is a moron, and neither is Wessely: I think they are doubletalking on purpose. The summary of his last statement unpacks thus, subtextually speaking, in the light of the rest of his doubletalk, in my judgment:
"The history of CFS has its roots clearly in the last century. The issues surrounding it are shared with a number of other poorly understood or 'medically unexplained' illnesses.
'People with CFS are neurasthenics' ("the last century" in 1999 = the 19th A.D.)
Despite the age and size of this problem it seems that we have made little progress in achieving an understanding that permits effective treatment to be offered to and accepted by those affected.
'They are not really ill'
Those who cannot be fit into a scheme of objective bodily illness yet refuse to be placed into and accept the stigma of mental illness remain to paraphrase Bernard Shaw the undeserving sick of our society and our health-service.
'They are neurasthenics'
However things are changing. Neuroscience is breaking down the barrier between mind and brain. Doctor patient relationships are changing to give more credence to the patient's subjective experience. The collaborative integrative approach of good CBT provides one model of how we could proceed.
'We can help these neurasthenics by CBT'
Perhaps we will do better in the next century. I hope so."
'I am a vey well-intentioned person. Really.'
He is not a moron: he is a clever and tricky bastard.
Also, there REALLY is a huge problem when one is trying to keep being scientific and rational with people who under pretense of being scientists are doubletalking, deceiving and propagandazing.
And I do believe professor Hooper has quoted him fairly, for in my opinion Sharpe did it on purpose; he wanted to drive that notion home that people with ME are the undeserving sick a.k.a. neurasthenics a.k.a. neurotics, but he quite cleverly tried to cover his ass by doubletalking AND appearing to be a humanistic saviour by being so kind to offer them CBT nevertheless, for his subtext is
'You DESERVE CBT if you have ME (and if you say 'no' you thereby prove you are a neurasthenic)'
That's his game - and he can section people who protest too much, as happened to Sophia Mirza.