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Learn about M.E.

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 in Scotland better understand M.E.

With funding from Scottish Government’s Neurological Framework, we are promoting a free online learning module on the diagnosis and management of M.E. to GPs, medical students and allied health professionals, complemented by our Learn about M.E. podcast series.

We have produced a template letter that people with M.E. can use to encourage their GP, therapist or other health professional to take the learning module which, along with the podcast series, is now available FREE for any health professional in the UK.

CPD-accredited learning module

Developed by Dr Nina Muirhead in partnership with the UK CFS/M.E. Research Collaborative (CMRC) 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 reflects emerging biomedical evidence, evolving international discussions and the patient perspective.

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, chairs the CMRC Medical Education Group. She says:

Only after I developed M.E. myself did I realise that I had not understood the illness. Feeling the devastating impact of M.E. 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.

  • The online learning module has been downloaded 3,750 times as of January 2022, and estimated that in Scotland it has been accessed 937 times.
  • 76% of professionals who completed the module believed they felt more confident in diagnosing M.E./CFS
  • 96% of professionals completing the module felt that more formal education and training on M.E./CFS was needed.

Podcast series

Our Learn about M.E. podcast supports learning from the module, featuring insight and experience people with M.E. and clinical professionals.

In episode one, patients Anna and Craig talk about the positive difference that good care and support have made for them, alongside reflections from Dr Muirhead and GP Claire Wood. Listen to Apple and Spotify.

The second in the series features clinician and researcher Dr David Strain on working with people with M.E. and Long Covid, along with Dr Muirhead and artist Alec Finlay, about he manages both conditions.

In the third episode, Dr Nina Muirhead is joined by Dr Gregor Purdie, about the importance of highlighting the changes in the newly updated NICE guideline on M.E.C/FS. The two are joined by, Helen, who lives with M.E. and who volunteers for The 25% ME group. Helen shares her experience in order to encourage healthcare professionals to implement the changes in the guideline.

In the fourth episode, we hear from medical students about their experience of learning about ME/CFS at their medical schools. We also hear about their own research into medical students and practising GPs' knowledge and understanding of ME/CFS and its impact on patients’ quality of life. The students talk about how medical education such as the Learn about ME CPD module and this podcast series can support GPs and students to be more confident in identifying ME/CFS and managing the symptoms of the illness.

In January 2022 the podcast hit a milestone of 1,000 downloads. Most recently, we have hit the 1,500 download mark. Thank you to anyone who has downloaded the series.

Learn about M.E. Webinar - March 2022

In March 2022, a partnership of M.E. charities including Action for M.E. held a webinar that would offer information to social care professionals on how to support people with M.E./CFS or Long Covid. The session was held by Dr Nina Muirhead, who has a personal experience with M.E./CFS. Our collective aim was to increase understanding of the condition by discussing essential facts about M.E. Throughout the webinar, we also dispelled some of the myths by offering practical tips to support clients. The webinar was open to anyone working in social care.

88% of attendees felt they were more confident in understanding the care and management strategies for people with M.E./CFS and Long Covid.

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

The aim of the webinar was to complement the existing educational material including the podcast series and CPD module. If you were unable to join the webinar live in March, we have uploaded the webinar to our YouTube channel for you to reflect back on.

Scottish 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 M.E./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 M.E./CFS to manage their symptoms and to improve wellbeing and quality of life.
  • Discuss the principles of energy management with people with M.E., 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.

NICE also made a statement cautioning against assumptions that M.E./CFS recommendations from the 2007 guideline apply to people with fatigue following Covid-19.