This is a specialist part-time service that delivers support and treatment to people with ME/CFS within community settings across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
At the end of March, we 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 Herefordshire and Worcestershire NHS ME/CFS Local Services, and responding to our queries. Marina hopes to be with us at our next Worcestershire M.E. Social Group Afternoon Café Meeting (see end of this blog).
Changes to the Worcestershire NHS Service, following the revised NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) Guidelines, published in October 2021
Marina informed us -
We have gone through the changes in the revised guidelines as a team, and developed an action plan to ensure that we are following them. Some of these actions are still work in progress as I'm sure you can appreciate that it is time-consuming, and we are already under a huge amount of pressure carrying out our day-to-day work. However, we check in each team meeting to make sure these have not been forgotten and are still progressing.
Actions included changing our language to ME/CFS from CFS/ME (in written format and when speaking), updating our referral protocol and service literature to ensure that they reflect new guidelines, developing a workshop for carers, and compiling a care and support plan. We are in on-going conversations with our commissioner about medical cover and also regarding how we work with people who are severely affected.
We were not offering CBT or GET as a 'cure' for ME/CFS so our approach to therapy has not changed - we see these interventions as beneficial for some people, at the correct time, and if applied in an appropriate manner.
The Current Worcestershire NHS ME/CFS Specialist Services, -
We recently mentioned to Marina -
On the NHS ME/CFS Service webpage, it states - “we work as a multi-disciplinary team with Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Psychologists”.
Marina’s response included -
We have Nikki Mills (Physiotherapist) working in the Post Covid team 1.5 days/week. She doesn't cover ME/CFS, but will offer guidance and resources to the team at times. We are very much hoping to recruit a physiotherapist still and are in the process of going to recruitment again.
The PCS service also has access to Carrie Garrett, a Speech and Language Therapist, who offers us approximately 1 session/month.
Diagnosing Long Covid
Marina informed us -
Diagnosing Long Covid is more straight forward than ME/CFS, and GPs seem to feel more comfortable with this as many people have had a positive Covid test, or recognise the symptoms of the Covid virus. If other possible causes of on-going symptoms have been ruled out, Long Covid is diagnosed by the GP.
This situation is likely to change, however, as testing is reduced, and new variants have different symptoms which are maybe less recognisable as Covid-19. We anticipate that there will be more referrals to the ME/CFS service, and hope that the distribution of funding will reflect this. It is one of the reasons why it has been decided that the PCS service should sit under the umbrella of the ME/CFS service, to allow some flexibility with this. Referral to the PCS service is mainly via GPs, but other clinicians sometimes refer as well.
Previous news from Marina Townend is available from our blog last month.
Marina informed us -
I am hoping to come to the Social Group on 10th May. I look forward to seeing you again and will be very happy to answer any questions then.
Please join us, when we look forward to greeting Marina at our next Afternoon Café Meeting. This will be held during ME Awareness Week on Wednesday, 10 May, from 2.00 - 3.30 pm, in the Next Café, above the Next store at the Elgar Retail Park, Blackpole, Worcester, WR3 8HP.
Our recent Worcester Afternoon Café Meetings blog, gives future dates, and further information.
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
• Hereford • Local News
• Meetings • N.H.S.
• N.I.C.E. • Post COVID Syndrome (Long COVID)
• Worcestershire • Worcestershire M.E. Social Group