8 July 2011
The Board of Barking Havering and Redbridge NHS Hospitals Trust (BHRUT) was due to meet 6 July in a meeting which would discuss the possible closure of the CFS service at Queen’s Hospital Romford.
The agenda of the meeting outlines the review which has been held to inform the decision on the future of the service.
It says the decision required is:
“To decide on whether the CFS inpatient service should be discontinued, whilst continuing to provide an outpatient service. This would consist of a consultant neurologist assessment, providing advice to GPs and recommendations to GPs as to whether patients may benefit from a referral to specialist OT and counseling services to be provided by BHRUT, after an individual funding request is approved. This is the recommended option.
“Other options would be to continue to provide both inpatient (the equivalent of 14 admissions during 2010/11) and outpatient care, to provide advice and guidance only or to discontinue the service completely.”
Financial implications and other considerations are described.
Reporting on patient feedback on the service, the paper says: “The responses from patients, their family and friends, and campaign and support groups for people living with CFS/ME were fairly united in their view:
- Support for the quality of care provided to CFS patients by BHRUT and Professor Findley’s team and gratitude for how it had helped many patients and their families
- The seriousness of CFS and its severe impact on people’s lives and that of their families, and therefore the importance of effective treatment
- A history of CFS being misdiagnosed, misunderstood and a sense of relief that patients had been able to access a specialist service at BHRUT, often after much delay or fighting to get funding
- Concern that effective treatment options available elsewhere are very limited and that other clinicians had been able to help
- Concern that with potential closure of BHRUT’s service, there would be no other source of effective treatment available
- Recognition that there is a severe shortage of specialists in this country who are interested in CFS and know how to treat it
- A sense that a very valuable resource at BHRUT, both for the Trust and the country, would be lost if the CFS service was closed
Staff participating in the review were also “generally opposed to closure of the service on the grounds that the service is unique in offering inpatient treatment in the UK… Staff expressed a clinical need for patients with CFS to access both inpatient and outpatient treatment.”
As Action for M.E., working at the request of local patients, was among those who expressed concerns about the service’s possible closure, Averil Dongworth, Chief Executive of the Trust, has said she will write to our CEO, Sir Peter Spencer, to inform us of the outcome of the meeting.