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Mental health trust pulls out of chronic fatigue service


East London Foundation Trust (ELFT) has stopped taking referrals for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome in City and Hackney and will cease running the service from April this year.

City and Hackney clinical commissioning group (CCG) said the mental health trust had decided to end the service because it considered the provision ‘not part of their core business'.

The CCG is planning to commission a new Complex Chronic Conditions service locally that would include the existing pain clinic service at St Leonards Hospital.

In the meantime GPs have been told to refer new patients to the Royal Free Hospital.

Chronic Fatigue syndrome, also known as ME or myalgic encephalomyelitis, is a debilitating long-term illness with a wide range of symptoms including extreme tiredness.

Around 70 patients a year in City and Hackney are referred to the chronic fatigue service. Around 50 of these patients go on to receive specific treatment for chronic fatigue.

Under-18s who show symptoms of chronic fatigue will continue to have an initial assessment with the child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

Children who require treatment will be referred to the Royal Free Hospital's all-age service.

A CCG spokesman said: ‘It is planned that a City and Hackney-only service will be provided locally as part of the Homerton pain clinic. 

‘Joining pain and chronic fatigue together makes clinical sense as the two share some similarities in terms of treatments. It also means that we will be able to retain local provision.’

He said the new service was expected to be operational ‘later this year’ but in the meantime local GPs had been asked to refer patients with Chronic Fatigue to the Royal Free Hospital.

Read about treatments available for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome on the NHS Choices and ME Association websites.



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