ME Improvements – July

The Sussex & Kent ME/CFS Society has welcomed research just published that shows up to one third of adults affected by the illness who attend specialist NHS services report substantial improvement in their health.

There are around 50 NHS specialist chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) services in England, including the Haywards Heath and Maidstone Centres, that treat approximately 8000 adult patients each year.

Over 1,000 research subjects were questioned about fatigue, physical function, general function, mood, pain and sleep problems before and after attending 11 of the English services.

This multi-centre study in the NHS has shown that CFS/ME is a long term condition that persists for the majority of adult patients even after receiving specialist treatment. Whilst 50–65% experienced little or no change in their condition 1–5 years after accessing a specialist service and 10–20% reported a deterioration, up to 30% of patients reported very much or much better health (and the majority of those who experienced little or no change had improved slightly). Given the adverse impact of CFS/ME on patients and their families, substantial improvement in 20–30% of the approximately 8000 patients treated each year by specialist CFS/ME services in England represents a large individual and societal benefit, and supports the argument that services need to be sufficiently resourced to treat promptly all newly diagnosed patients according to individual need.

Colin Barton of the Sussex & Kent Society says: “This multi-centre NHS study has shown that, although one third of patients reported substantial overall improvement in their health, ME is a long term condition that persists for the majority of adult patients even after receiving specialist treatment.”