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Learn about ME

Learn about M.E.

Action for M.E. is working with the ME Association, #MEAction Scotland and the 25% ME Group to ensure more doctors understand ME/CFS.

With funding from Scottish Government’s Neurological Framework, we are promoting Learna’s free CPD-accredited learning module on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and our accompanying series of brilliant podcasts and webinars, featuring a range of guest speakers including people with lived experience of ME/CFS.

GPs, medical students, pharmacists and other health professionals who complete the module will be able to:

Medical Student essay competition: win £250!

Medical students at any level, studying anywhere in Scotland, are invited to enter the Learn about M.E. essay competition. We are offering a first prize of £250 and the potential opportunity to publish in The Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.

First, second and third prize essays will also be published by Learn about ME project partners. The essay title is "What is your most important learning point about ME/CFS?" with a word limit of 500 and a submission deadline of Wednesday 14 February 2024.

Find out more and enter now!

CPD-accredited learning module

Developed by Dr Nina Muirhead, the module is based on around 10 clinical case studies, which aim to typify patients who may or may not display signs and symptoms of M.E., and is updated to reflect emerging biomedical evidence, evolving international discussions and the patient perspective. There is the option to get feedback after each question with further links to reading and research to increase knowledge and understanding.

It includes a focus on post-exertional malaise, a key feature of M.E. which is also being observed in a subset of patients with Long Covid.

Dr Muirhead, a dermatologist specialising in dermatologic surgery and oncology at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, says:

Only after I developed ME myself did I realise that I had not understood the illness. Feeling the devastating impact of ME on myself and my life, I felt determined to offer something that changed that experience for other people.”

Health professionals will receive one-hour Continuing Professional Development accreditation upon successful completion. A survey (November 2022) of health professionals who have taken the module found that:

  • 75% felt more confident in diagnosing ME/CFS
  • 71% said they had increased confidence in treating and managing ME/CFS
  • 96% agreed that more formal education and training on ME/CFS was needed.

We are hugely grateful to the Scottish Government for funding the Learn about ME project. You can read our report for the funding period ending September 2023.

Podcast series

Our ongoing podcast series share insight and experience from patients and professionals to accompany the CPD module. The links below take you to Buzzsprout, or you can listen on Apple and Spotify.

  • Episode 1 – Learn about ME overview, with guests describing how the module can improve experience and outcomes for both patients and professionals.
  • Episode 2 – Learn about ME and Long COVID, and its similarities to ME/CFS.
  • Episode 3 – Learn about ME and the 2021 NICE guideline on diagnosing and treating ME/CFS in children, adults and young people.
  • Episode 4 – Learn about ME in Medical Schools, with insight from medical students.
  • Episode 5 – Learn about ME and social care, highlighting that ‘reablement’ is not an appropriate approach for someone with ME/CFS.
  • Episode 6 - Learn about ME and Nursing, highlighting how much of the learning from the module can be applied to people with Long COVID as well as those with ME/CFS.
  • Episode 7 - Learn about ME and Physiotherapy, with a focus on being person-centred as people with M.E. can all present very differently
  • Episode 8 - Learn about ME and DecodeME, the world’s largest genetic study of ME/CFS.
  • Episode 9 – Learn about ME and GP Prescribing, which considers what GPs need to remember when prescribing for individual symptoms and/or associated condition such as have Postural tachycardia syndrome.
  • Episode 10 - Learn about ME and Paediatrics. Hear from consultant Dr Binita Kane how her experience of her and her family’s health has made her reconsider her understanding of post-viral illnesses like ME/CFS and Long COVID, alongside insight and guidance from Helen Gibson, whose teenage daughter has ME/CFS.

All podcasts are produced by Zoe Anderson, who we thank for her empathy and expertise.

Learn about ME and social care webinar

Our Learn about ME webinar for professionals working in social care recorded in March 2022 offers information on the condition and some of the adjustments that are needed for people to engage successfully with social care.

The webinar was led by Dr Nina Muirhead who has personal experience of ME/CFS, and potential outcomes from listening include:

  • awareness of characteristic symptoms of ME/CFS and understand how this affects daily life
  • ability to identify and apply practical measures that will enhance planning and delivering care services and support
  • having an overview of potential adjustments needed in service delivery to avoid exacerbation of symptoms and sensitivities
  • awareness of the need for person-centred care and planning
  • understanding of the fluctuating nature of the illness and the impact of post-exertional malaise
  • ability to signpost to self-management resources and support.

Following the webinar, 88% of attendees felt they were more confident in understanding care and management strategies for people with ME/CFS and Long Covid. One told us:

I am reaching out to say a BIG thank you for the great seminar that I had the pleasure to attend today. Very informative and helpful to understand better people living with ME/CFS, their abilities/ needs and their limitations.”

This webinar complements the educational material in the CPD module and episode 5 of the the podcast series, and is free to watch on Action for M.E. YouTube channel.

Government guidance on M.E.

The Scottish Good Practice Statement on ME-CFS was published in November 2010. Scottish Ministers have given a commitment to review the content of this Statement following the publication of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)'s updated guideline for M.E., which came out in October 2021.

The October 2021 NICE guideline for M.E. has revised advice from its 2007 edition as follows:

  • Do not offer people any therapy based on physical activity or exercise as a treatment or cure for ME/CFS, including any programme based on fixed incremental increases in physical activity or exercise, for example graded exercise therapy.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy is not a treatment or cure for the condition and should not be offered in this context. It may be useful though in supporting people who live with ME/CFS to manage their symptoms and to improve wellbeing and quality of life.
  • Discuss the principles of energy management with people with ME/CFS, an approach that helps people learn to use the amount of energy they have while reducing their risk of post-exertional malaise or worsening their symptoms by exceeding their limits, of which they are an expert judge.