Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Long Covid sufferers should see an interim service being set up by the end of the year ahead of a full launch once funding is released.

The news will be a welcome one to surfers of the conditions who have campaigned for a properly funded health service to be established on the island.

Newly appointed Treasury Minister David Ashford was asked for an update on the the establishment of a Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome service in his former role as Health and Social Care Minister by Garff MHK Daphne Caine.

In a written answer Mr Ashford said: ‘Since the launch of Manx Care on April 1 2021, significant progress has been made in the establishment of an ME/CFS and Long Covid service on the Isle of Man.

‘A business case has been developed to seek funding for the recruitment of a multidisciplinary team to offer a comprehensive ME/CFS and Long Covid service. This team will comprise:

• Specialist Occupational Therapist
• Specialist Physiotherapist
• Specialist Dietician
• Respiratory Clinical Nurse Specialist
• Appointment of a GP Champion/s
• Admin support
• Support from off island specialist provider

‘The business case has been approved internally within Manx Care and within the DHSC and is awaiting consideration at Treasury Board alongside other revenue bids for 2022/23.’

Mr Ashford said that the creation of the service is a ‘top priority’ and that the feedback received from international experts, consulting on this project, ‘has been very positive’.

He added: ‘Implementation of the full scale service will require recruitment and reorganisation of resources, but steps have already been taken to ensure the first patients can be admitted to the service as soon as possible.

It is envisaged that an interim service will be created before the end of the calendar year by reallocating existing resources and funding, allowing for a seamless transition to a full service when the revenue bid is authorised and funding released. Progress is being made around development of job descriptions which will be used to recruit the new posts that will work within the service. In addition, some initial clinical pathway design is underway being led by on island clinicians who have an interest in ME/CFS. This is being supported by off island specialists who have offered to help with the establishment of the Isle of Man ME/CFS and Long Covid service.’

Gef has previously raised the issue of ME sufferers who earlier this year staged a protest outside Tynwald ahead of general debate moved by former Justice and Home Affairs Minister Graham Cregeen.

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