Cornwall

Review under way into Cornwall's ME service

Image of young woman with ME
Image caption About 300 people a year in Cornwall are diagnosed with ME

Cornwall's chronic fatigue syndrome (ME) service is being reviewed.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital's Trust said it had temporarily closed referrals for new admissions after the retirement of the head of the service.

The Trust also said there was "a national shortage of experts in this field".

About 300 people a year in Cornwall are diagnosed with the condition and there are currently about 80 patients waiting to be seen.

Cornwall's ME service provides therapy clinics in hospitals across Cornwall, including Stratton, St Austell, Helston and Penzance.

Elaine Peller the Chairman of Mesh, an ME Support, Help and Action group in Cornwall, said: "We're passionate about our service. We are absolutely desperate for them to get that medical replacement in place as soon as possible."

In a statement the hospital's trust said: "We are looking at models of services that are working effectively in other parts of the country and which make use of greater input from psychology and occupational therapy specialists.

"We are involving local patients in the review and whilst it is completed, NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly have agreed that we should temporarily suspend new referrals to the service.

Patients will continue to receive care under the management of their GP who will still be able to make urgent referrals where a patient's need is particularly acute."

ME is a neurological condition which can leave patients feeling exhausted with muscle pain, flu-like conditions, digestive conditions, swollen glands and nausea.

Dr Charles Shepherd, from the ME Association, said: "Unfortunately the service problem in Cornwall is not unique. There are other services with this illness closing down in other parts of the country and they're not being replaced by new services springing up elsewhere."

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