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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgia Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) Service

The CFS/ME Service was commissioned in 2004 to assess and treat 150-200 new referrals annually, for patients meeting the criteria. 

Following receipt of a complete referral form supported by appropriate history, examination and investigations patients will be triaged.   Predominantly assessments will be undertaken by Vicki Piggott, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist; Marie Liddell, Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist; Joanne Davies, Specialist Occupational Therapist.  Patients will have their assessment and management plans individually discussed, and a summary communicated to the GP.

It is the aim of the service to provide a responsive and high quality service to patients who present with CFS/ME, aiming to empower patients and carers to manage the problems of the illness in everyday life.  Where necessary the service will work with partner organisations who are involved with the patient or may need to become involved.  This includes providing expert reports for any associated bodies such as DWP or Occupational Health.  The service will maintain links and be an active participant in the Regional CFS/ME network.


Treatment response is variable between patients.  Typically patients will receive a maximum of 12 therapy sessions.  Some of these sessions may include telephone consultation, by mutual agreement.  End of treatment will be mutually planned.  All patients (barring change of circumstances) will be then offered six month and one year reviews to revisit the end of treatment outcome and to ensure the patient is still empowered to manage their condition.

Continual Service Improvement

The service intends to provide the best possible care for patients.  The team will maintain high standards of assessment and up to date clinical knowledge and skills.

Subject to contracting arrangements the service would like to extend the scope of its practice to other patient groups, where it is deemed the therapist skills are appropriate.  For instance, a recent successful pilot of group therapy treating patients with Fibromyalgia, working alongside Consultant Rheumatologists.

Referring Information

This service is available to all patients who are registered with a GP, within Co Durham & Darlington CCGs.

The service is based at Chester Le Street Hospital

The service is ran Monday to Friday 08:30 am to 5.00pm.

Clinic locations are Shotley Bridge Community Hospital, Chester-le-Street Community Hospital, University Health Centre at Green Lane Durham, and Sedgefield Community Hospital.

Referrals are accepted from GPs and Consultants supported with appropriate history, examination and investigation results.

'In recent times, I have utilised admissions to Richardson for respite direct from my fracture clinic, even at weekends. I have never worked anywhere with this efficiency before - it is reassuring and invaluable for the patient.'

Patient, Lowson / Starling Wards, Richardson Hospital