Belfast CFS service has collapsed, says Northern Ireland ME Association

July 19, 2011

The CFS service at Belfast City Hospital has collapsed following the departure of the senior occupational therapist who ran it, Northern Ireland MEA (NIMEA) said this morning.

The Secondary Care Directorate in the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety has informed NIMEA that Jayne Perkes has now left her post as the senior occupational therapist.

Horace Reid, who works closely with NIMEA, commented today:

“Mrs. Perkes was the only member of NHS staff in Northern Ireland to specialise solely in the management of CFS/ME. (Dr David McCluskey at Royal Victoria Hospital and Dr Welby Henry at Belfast City Hospital provide only a part-time diagnose-and-discharge service). Mrs. Perkes' post has not been filled, and it will be impossible to find a replacement with her level of knowledge and experience.

“It had been intended that she would help set up new ME clinics in the other three health trusts, but there is now no hope of that happening. Effectively her departure marks the collapse of present and planned specialist ME care within the NHS in Northern Ireland.

“The Health Minister, Edwin Poots, updated the Assembly about ME services on 8th July, (for his Written Answer see, but for some strange reason he did not mention Mrs. Perkes' prior resignation, or its implications.”

20 July 2011: The following additional information was circulated this morning on behalf of Jo Calder at the Northern Ireland ME Association:

Members of NIMEA have been stakeholders on the NI ME Working group at Stormont since October 2009. But increasingly it has become clear that the DHSSPSNI and the Health & Social Care Board have no intention of committing extra financial or manpower resources to improved services for ME patients in Northern Ireland.

For almost two years now NIMEA have invested a great deal of time and effort in the Working Group. Unfortunately we seem to have been banging our heads off a brick wall.

More information here when we get it.

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