The ME support group on the Isle of Man has reacted tetchily to the news that there has been a further delay in setting up a joint ME/CFS and Long Covid service on the island.
Campaign leader Juan Corlett, from ME Support (IoM), said the island's Health and Social Care Minister has “left us encouraged by his words, the promises and the aspirations but, crucially we remain underwhelmed by the delivery to date.
“The plan shared with us looking increasingly positive on paper, but tangible improvements for patients are overdue and had been expected before the end of the calendar year.”
The Minister, Lawrie Hooper, confirmed in the island parliament Tynwald this week that plans to set up what the authorities are terming an “interim” service have slipped back to next spring at least. This is so that the two healthcare professionals most involved – including a newly appointed clinical psychologist – can take soundings about what will be required to achieve the most effective service.
Answering questions from two Members of the House of Keys, Claire Christian and Jason Moorhouse, the Minister said that Manx Care, the island's integrated health and social care provider, had insufficient capacity at the moment to cope with all the demand for a post-viral fatigue service on the island. He said he was working closely with the relevant support groups to deliver an effective service.
About 350 people living on the island have been diagnosed with ME/CFS, while an unknown number of people suffer from the symptoms of Long Covid.
Commenting to the ME Association after the Tynwald session, Mr Corlett added:
“We agree with the Minister’s assertion that capacity should be increased and this needs to be accompanied by improvements to the diagnostic and treatment approach, both within the service and at GPs practices. Certain recommendations from UK experts could have been implemented by now and we hope that sufficient support is promptly provided to clinicians and GPs to allow these changes to materialise and be embraced.”
“We hope our communications continue with the Minister, his Department and Manx Care and sincerely hope that a breakthrough regarding delivery is imminent.”