This week, we’ve received further information from Marina Townend, Specialist Occupational Therapist/ Team Lead, of the Worcestershire & Herefordshire ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Post-Covid Syndrome services, updating us on the situation at the Worcestershire NHS ME/CFS Local Services, and responding to our queries.
Marina informs us -
Unfortunately, we are still unable to confirm a diagnosis of ME/CFS within this service, despite our continued efforts to resolve this situation. Last year, a service level agreement was made with Birmingham and Solihull Trust whereby the Consultant in their ME/CFS service would assess 50 people within Herefordshire and Worcestershire who have a suspected diagnosis of ME/CFS. Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, we then provide a service to those patients. This temporary arrangement has worked well but there isn't capacity to continue so we need to find another solution.
We have been working closely with our commissioner to identify various options, and these are being discussed with GP's and at executive level within the Trust and ICB. I hope a model will be agreed soon and look forward to local people being able to receive a diagnosis (and therefore support and treatment) in a timely way.
In the meantime, GPs continue to refer to this service. We advise about other options for diagnosis (as detailed on your website) and hold a list of the patients who are in this position. We have also told people about the (paying) Healthcare service that Action for ME offer, but appreciate this is not an option for everyone.
Action for ME’s "Healthcare Services for M.E." (mentioned by Marina above).
Following our merger with The ME Trust in February 2022, we are now able to offer Healthcare Services alongside our Information and Support, Family Support and Advocacy services.
Click on the menu for more information about each clinical service, including how to refer yourself and details of fees.
Action for ME give details of bursary support on their website.
Marina informs us -
Since October 2021, the Post Covid Syndrome (PCS) service sits under the umbrella of the ME/CFS service. Sara Young (OT) has been seconded to the Clinical Lead post, and Helen Ayres (Psychologist) and I both work additional hours to staff the PCS service. Demand has been very high, and it has been difficult to recruit to the service due to the way that the government provides funding on an annual basis at present.
The Current Worcestershire NHS ME/CFS Specialist Services, -
Marina informed us -
We have recently welcomed Ceri Howell, Therapy Assistant, to the team and she works full-time hours across both services. Mya Krishnan, Clinical Psychologist, also started with us last May, working 2 days/week.
I am currently covering all the Occupational Therapy input in the ME/CFS service. Unfortunately, the team has been without full admin support for the past 14 months, which has been difficult but will hopefully improve soon.
We continue to offer 1:1 and group interventions, mainly (but not exclusively) on-line as the feedback we have received suggests that this is generally helpful to manage fatigue. We are starting to get more referrals from Herefordshire GP's now, and still receive a steady stream of referrals for people with the condition who live in Worcestershire.
Marina also apologised for the time it has taken her to get back to us. She explained - - it has been an even busier couple of months as I have had two 3rd year students (OT and Physiotherapy) with me and the team, and new staff members to induct. All very positive but also time consuming...!
We are still making edits to our website, and any feedback is welcome as we are keen to improve it further, within the corporate constraints of design. I am aware there are various typos and some links that need updating, and I am still liaising with our Comms team about these so hopefully the website will be amended soon.
I was very sad to hear about Warwick but I'm pleased that you have resumed your meet-ups, and hope to come along to one of these in the next couple of months. It has been a challenging time for many over the past few years, and support from us all is valued and much needed.
The new Myalgic encephalomyelitis (or encephalopathy)/ chronic fatigue syndrome: diagnosis and management. NICE guideline [NG206] was published in October 2021.
See also from our website -
NICE ME/CFS: new Guideline (New downloadable Publications).
NICE ME/CFS: new Guideline (Reactions).
NICE ME/CFS: new Guideline now Published
Worcester Afternoon Café Meetings
Our next Afternoon Café Meeting will be from 2.00 - 3.30 pm, on Wednesday 12 April, in the Next Café, above the Next store at the Elgar Retail Park, Blackpole, Worcester, WR3 8HP. (There is a lift and escalator in the store, plus plenty of parking, including blue badge spaces near the main entrance.)
Our recent Worcester Afternoon Café Meetings blog, gives future dates, and further information.
• Action for ME • Coronavirus (COVID 19) • Hereford
• Local News • Meetings • N.H.S. • N.I.C.E. • Post COVID Syndrome (Long COVID) • Worcestershire • Worcestershire M.E. Social Group