Outstanding health service is threatened

A leading specialist health service with a history of some of the best patient results in the country and a 97 per cent patient satisfaction rating is under threat.  The move by the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is being slammed as a "tragedy" by the country's largest ME/CFS by AYME.

The service received 570 new cases from across West and North Yorkshire last year and manages over 400 patients at any one time.  One of the first specialist clinical services for ME/CFS, the Leeds based clinic has traditionally provided a comprehensive service for people with M.E.

However the ME/CFS specialist teams' immunologist, Dr Phillip Wood from Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, has been given notice.  This means that the service will no longer be able to provide a medical assessment and diagnosis service.  Instead, LYPFT have chosen to provide a psychiatry led service.

Mary-Jane Willows, Chief Executive of AYME says "It is ironic that one of the most successful and highly valued services in the country, is being threatened it is vital that patients in the region engage with the consultation process or the service, as we know it will be lost (information when available will be posted on the AYME website)".

Dr Alastair Miller, spokesman for the British Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME (BACME), a multidisciplinary organisation which exists to promote and support the delivery of evidenced based treatment for children, young people and adults with ME/CFS throughout the UK said for a ME/CFS service not to have medical assessment to ensure that the diagnosis is correct is "totally inappropriate"

Christine Cheetham, aged 59, from Yeadon, near Leeds said the practical and excellent advice and support from the Leeds ME/CFS team was a "lifeline" when she didn't know what was happening. She added: "I honestly think I would have been "lost" without this service.  It made me feel human and able to think positively about the future."

ME Patient, Karen Palmer, 56 from Bradford became ill nine years ago. Karen was struggling so badly with the overwhelming nature of the symptoms, financial worries and confusion about what was happening to her that she wanted to die.  

"I can honestly say that in my case the Leeds ME service was a life saver". Karen said: "It would be very sad if others could not benefit in the way I did because coping on your own with ME is impossible."

Graciela McIntyre from Leeds was diagnosed September 2009 and received most of her support from the ME/CFS clinic. "Had I not have access to the clinic I would have no one to go to.  My GP was supportive but cannot compare to the specialized knowledge and expertise from the clinic. I am successfully coping and trying to maintain a part time job".

Please take action if you feel strongly about this. The Leeds and York Partnership Foundations Trust can be reached at communications.lypft@nhs.net Also make your comments known to Chief Executive, Chris Butler, 2150 Century Way, Thorpe Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 8ZB or email:christopherbutler@nhs.net. You can find details of your local MP at http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

Also make your views known to the Yorkshire Evening Post:  http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk

The Trust's reply to Mary Jane

Leeds and York Partnership leaflet