What is the Leeds & West Yorkshire Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) Service?
We are a specialist NHS service that seeks to meet the needs of people who have a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also referred to as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).
The vast majority of patients who attend the service are Outpatients, but we also offer a Home based Rehabilitation Service to those individuals with CFS/ME who are primarily confined to bed. We also work in collaboration with Yorkshire Centre for Psychological Medicine, which is an inpatient unit based at the Leeds General Infirmary providing more intensive assessment/rehabilitation for severely affected patients.
We have a multidisciplinary team who provide assessment, and management, for people who have a diagnosis of CFS/ME. The team includes clinicians in liaison psychiatry, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, CFS/ME nursing and dietetics. We ask that other causes of fatigue (medical or psychiatric) are excluded before referral, but we are in the process of arranging some sessions offering medical review for patients who may need another medical opinion. There is a clinical lead and team manager and the whole team is supported by administrative staff.
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis?
The condition has been called by a variety of names including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) and Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS). We use CFS/ME, which has been used in the Chief Medical Officer's report and by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).
The main symptom of CFS/ME is a feeling of unusual and excessive tiredness that is characteristically made much worse after any activity. The fatigue is usually both physical and mental. The fatigue would be of new onset rather than life long and impacts on the person’s life to the extent that they have to cut down significantly on what they do day to day. It is important that other medical conditions that can cause significant fatigue are excluded before the diagnosis of CFS/ME is made.
CFS/ME is different from a more short-lived fatigue that may occur after many common illnesses especially viral infections. A diagnosis of CFS/ME is only made by the service after a person has had the symptoms for at least 4 months.
How is CFS/ME treated?
There is now good evidence for management strategies, which enable people to control their fatigue and improve their activity levels by addressing how energy is used and managing other factors which impact upon fatigue. We also look at strategies to control debilitating symptoms. There is no specific single medical treatment for CFS/ME and although many different treatments have been suggested few have withstood rigorous trials. .
We believe in patients being central to the therapy process and we focus on supporting patients to apply strategies which they can use to help themselves.
How can I arrange an assessment?
People need to be referred to the service by their GP or other health professional involved in their care.
There is no test to tell whether someone has CFS/ME. Therefore, the diagnosis is largely dependent on the history of the symptoms and exclusion of other illnesses. We make sure that other illnesses have been excluded by the GP or other health professional involved in the patient’s care, which means individuals undergoing some routine investigations, including blood tests, before first coming to the service.
We then write to the patient to request that they contact us to arrange a suitable time to come for the initial assessment. Patients will be offered an appointment within 11 weeks from the date we receive the referral.
The CFS/ME service covers the whole of West Yorkshire, which includes Leeds, Calderdale, Huddersfield, Bradford, Wakefield, Kirklees, Airedale and Craven. We also see patients from parts of the North Yorkshire region.
If you are unsure if our service covers your area please contact us.
The Leeds and West Yorkshire CFS/ME Service is provided by Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. The service is currently based at the Newsam Centre at Seacroft Hospital in Leeds.
Therapy Suite, 1st Floor
Our service operates
Monday – Friday, 08.30 – 16.30
Please click here to see a map of the location.
** Recently we reviewed this service and carried out an engagement exercise. Please click here to read the final report from our chief executive following the review period.**