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Patients Anger as 'Vital' Service is Suspended

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2:42pm 7th February 2012
(Updated 2:42pm 7th February 2012)

People diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue or ME in Cornwall won't get specialist treatment for months.

Treliske has suspended new referrals while it reviews the service. It follows the retirement of its former head.

It means patients will be cared for by their GP instead.

Elaine Peller runs a support group in the Duchy. She said, "It actually involves an enormous number of symptoms that can cause havoc with your life. Especially families or partners can be completely bemused by what's going on. The sooner someone can get a diagnosis the sooner the rest of the family can cope as well and help out. Early diagnosis is absolutely crucial and the more delay they are in having that diagnosis the worse their illness can be."

In a statement the Royal Cornwall Hospital said, "Following the retirement of Professor Pinching during the latter part of last year and being aware of national shortages of experts in this field, a decision was made to carry out a full review in partnership with our commissioners (NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly) to determine the best way to provide an ME/CFS service for the future.

“We are looking at models of services that are working effectively in other parts of the country and which make use of greater input from psychology and occupational therapy specialists.  We are involving local patients in the review and whilst it is completed, NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly have agreed that we should temporarily suspend new referrals to the service. Patients will continue to receive care under the management of their GP.”

A spokesperson added: "GPs are still able to refer patients through where there is a clinically urgent need."

2:42pm 7th February 2012

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