The Project Group that has been formed to establish a new Long Covid and ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) support service for the Isle of Man is making good progress prior to its target launch date of September 2022.
The group – a multi-disciplinary group which comprises Doctors, Allied Health Professionals, charity support representatives, and representatives from similar established services in the UK – has spent a number of months reviewing the future needs of Island residents suffering from these conditions, including holding various listening events in person and digitally to better understand their requirements. Project leads have held various meetings internally within Manx Care, with various Government departments, and with other organisations in the third sector, as well as engaging with experts in the UK, in order to design a service that is fit for purpose and sustainable over the long-term.
A small, interim support service is currently in place for people suffering with both conditions.
Work is continuing to finalise the service specification and patient care pathways for formal review and approval, provide an initial training update to GPs, and identify venues across the Island where both group and one-to-one therapy can be delivered in the future. In due course, the Project Board will advertise for a GP with a Special Interest in Long Covid and ME/CFS to join the service on a formal basis.
Juan Corlett, Chairman of ME Support Isle of Man, said:
'We are extremely grateful to Manx Care’s team for working closely with our charity over the last year, and enabling so many local residents living with these conditions to shape service development by having their voices heard at listening events. Designing a suitable model for these complex illnesses is not straightforward, and our Island is lucky to have a talented and passionate team working collaboratively on the finer detail of this project. We can’t wait for the new service to launch.'
Oliver Radford, Manx Care’s Director of Operations, commented:
'The development of a service to support the care needs of people suffering from Long Covid and ME/CFS will be very welcome on the Island once it is established later this year. We will continue to work with people who have lived experiences of these conditions to develop the service and I’d like to thank everyone who’s taken part in the feedback sessions to date.'
Background to the establishment of a Long Covid and ME/CFS Support Service
Since its formation, Manx Care has worked closely with patient groups to develop an enhanced service to meet the needs of people living with ME/CFS and a growing number of people with Long Covid. There are approximately 350 adults with ME/CFS and approximately 1,000 adults with Long COVID on the Island.
Listening events were held in February and March 2022 for people suffering from both conditions, highlighting a need far wider than health alone. In order to meet these needs the new service will:
- Provide support that is co-produced with people living with both conditions to enable an informed service design that will meet the needs of individuals
- Include an easy-to-understand referral process and diagnostics
- Include Specialists on the Isle of Man and in the UK to provide a wide review of individual needs
- Provide a training programme to health and social care employees to raise awareness and highlight NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) publications for both conditions
- Raise awareness of both conditions with the public
- Provide people with a holistic care plan to support individuals to either fully recover if treated earlier in the pathway, or to ensure they are ‘living well with’ their condition