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Michelle Selby’s talk at the 2017 AGM


Michelle Selby, Head OT gave a talk at DMESG AGM Sat 25th March 2017 about Wareham CFS/ME Clinic:

  • Since the year 2,000 there has been a steady average of 220 referrals per year.
  • The clinic employs at present 4 qualified Occupational Therapists (equivalent of 3 full time OTs), a secretary and a specialist OT.
  • Dr Richards and Dr Horne hold between at least 3 clinics per month at Wareham Hospital, and do some domiciliary diagnosis.
  • The Children’s CFS/ME Service employs 2 doctors for East Dorset, and 1 for the West, and from May this year will be also employing a psychologist.
  • Our Self-Care Coordinator, Wendy Rideout, has now gained permanent funding which will be administered from Wareham Hospital CFS/ME Service. Great News!!

Questions from the floor resulted in the following information:

  • Wareham CFS/ME clinic is essentially a GP referred service.
  • The number diagnosed remains steady despite better GP awareness, possibly because the resultant more frequent early diagnosis of CFS/ME may reduce the occurrence of the condition becoming more severe, or enable it to be treated/understood without seeking help from the clinic.
  • There is a low incidence of negative diagnosis at the clinic and most patients/users remain with the service for up to 9 months.
  • Reviews can be arranged by GP re-referral, or if within 6 months of leaving the service, by the user themselves.
  • Although long term recovery of users is not formally monitored by the clinic, the care continues through our link groups and our Self Care Coordinator, Wendy. DMESG (a charity) and the Wareham CFS/ME clinic (NHS) thus share a liaison and support mechanism which is successful and unique.
  • There is still a patchwork of GP attitudes as to how seriously CFS/ME is viewed. Although Michelle Selby discusses possibilities of, for example, hypothalamus dysfunction, GPs will listen, but only take it on board if they are so inclined. There are exceptional GPs who may follow up their CFS/ME diagnosed patients with phone calls to monitor their progress, even when the patient has not ‘bothered’ them for a while!
  • The clinic runs an Annual Satisfaction Survey which indicates many success stories, although Michelle admits the survey still needs refining with a few more tough and specific questions, rather than leading questions. She says there is most improvement in functional rather than anxiety-type symptoms.
  • There is much ongoing research, but to date we are still awaiting the discovery of a specific marker or markers (genetic or otherwise) that will aid the diagnosis of CFS/ME.

Thank you Michelle; it proved a very worthwhile talk and discussion.

Jenny Elmes, Trustee