Making a referral
A number of specialist M.E. clinics exist across the UK, with multi-disciplinary teams usually offering diagnostic services and specialist symptom management programmes. The general principles of management within the specialist services will be similar although there may be slight differences. In general, all patients will be individually assessed and then offered management either as individual sessions or within a group.
Referral to other services may also be required for additional assessment, symptom control or further support and advice. This could include referral:
- to a specialist consultant, physiotherapist, occupational therapist or psychological therapist
- for welfare benefits and/or employment support advice
- for additional help from the primary care team
- to social services for additional care support.
Some areas are not covered by specialist services, particularly in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, so an out-of-area referral may be necessary.
The NICE guideline for M.E. (undergoing essential updates, though this process is on hold due to the Coronavirus pandemic) says that referral to a specialist service should be made:
- within six months of presentation for people with mild M.E.
- within three to four months of presentation for people with moderate M.E.
- immediately for people with severe M.E.
Action for M.E. can offer your patients information, advice and support on a range of issues, including welfare benefits, staying in or returning to employment, or leaving work well; pacing and other self-management approaches; and accessing peer-support.