The ME Association writes to Oxford NHS Trust about ‘inaccurate’ and ‘offensive’ job advert 

Dear Dr Haldane and Oxford NHS Foundation Trust 

Re: Job advert for clinical psychologist to work with ME/CFS and renal transplant services

This job advert (see below) has found its way onto social media and two of the descriptions regarding ‘responsibilities' are, not surprisingly, attracting a great deal of adverse comment and upset from people with ME/CFS. 

The way in which people with ME/CFS are described is inaccurate, offensive and unnecessary and I am sure that people with kidney disease who are awaiting a transplant would also find these descriptions offensive. 

I suspect that you may not be aware that the DHSC issued an interim delivery plan for ME/CFS last week. This plan places great emphasis on the use of language and the way in which health professionals have failed to empathise with people with ME/CFS and acknowledge the disability that is caused by ME/CFS. 

To quote from the Interim Delivery Plan: 

“…many people with ME/CFS and their family members report experiencing dismissive attitudes, stigma and misconceptions from professionals about the nature and impact of ME/CFS on their life. This is not acceptable. 

“The impact of such attitudes can be profound for individuals and those close to them. We have heard that poor responses from some professionals have led to many people in the ME/CFS community feeling ashamed and let down by the public sector.  

“In some cases, people in the ME/CFS community have resolved to stay away from health and welfare services, had suicidal thoughts or even taken their own lives.” 

I hope that you will therefore urgently remove the offensive language in this advert that puts the communication blame on patients rather than health professionals. 

Yours sincerely 

Dr Charles Shepherd 

Hon Medical Adviser, MEA 

NHS Job Advert 

Clinical Psychologist – CFS & Renal: Oxford University NHS Foundation Trust 

Job summary 

This is an exciting opportunity to work in a large Clinical Health Psychology team integrated into an acute hospital Trust and work in two clinical specialties: the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Service and Renal and Transplant Medicine service. 


Main duties of the job 

The post holder will provide a highly specialist clinical psychology service to patients who access the Myalgic Encaphalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Service (0.5wte) and Renal and Transplant Service (0.5wte). 

Job description 

Job responsibilities 

  • To communicate effectively, empathically and clearly with team members and other medical professionals regarding psychological or medical matters which will regularly be highly complicated… and which may require managing difficulties in understanding (such as cognitive deficits, or unconscious denial of psychological conflicts), or overcoming communication difficulties with patient who are hostile, antagonistic, highly anxious or psychotic
  • In carrying out the duties of the post, to cope with and manage challenging behaviour at times, including verbal abuse and risk of physical aggression (for example from people with behavioural problems or enduring mental illness). 
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