Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Collapse of Specialist NHS ME provision in Northern Ireland

on behalf of Jo Calder:

The Secondary Care Directorate of the DHSSPSNI at Stormont has informed NIMEA that Jayne Perkes, Senior Occupational Therapist, has left her post at the CFS Clinic at Belfast City Hospital.

Mrs. Perkes was the only member of NHS staff in Northern Ireland to specialise solely in the management of CFS/ME. (Dr. David McCluskey at RVH and Dr Welby Henry at BCH provide only a part-time diagnose-and-discharge service). Mrs. Perkes’ post has not been filled, and it will be impossible to find a replacement with her level of knowledge and experience. It had been intended that she would help set up new ME clinics in the other 3 health Trusts, but there is now no hope of that happening. Effectively her departure marks the collapse of present and planned specialist ME care within the NHS in Northern Ireland.

The Health Minister Edwin Poots updated the Assembly about ME services on 8th July, (for his Written Answer see http://www.meassociation.org.uk/?p=7066), but for some strange reason he did not mention Mrs. Perkes’ prior resignation, or its implications.

Members of NIMEA have been stakeholders on the NI ME Working group at Stormont since October 2009. But increasingly it has become clear that the DHSSPSNI and the Health & Social Care Board have no intention of committing extra financial or manpower resources to improved services for ME patients in Northern Ireland.

For almost two years now NIMEA have invested a great deal of time and effort in the Working Group. Unfortunately we seem to have been banging our heads off a brick wall.

(May be reposted).

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