What is CFS/ME?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is a complex, debilitating disorder and as yet, no single cause has been identified. The condition is characterised by extreme fatigue and tiredness that does not go away with rest and cannot be explained by an underlying medical condition.

What are the symptoms?
As well as extreme fatigue, other common symptoms include recurrent sore throats, tender lymph nodes, muscle pain, multi joint pain, headaches, impairment of memory and concentration, un-refreshing sleep and post-exertional malaise. CFS/ME affects people in different ways and no two people experience the illness in the same way. The pattern of a person's symptoms, and their severity, can vary from day to day, or even in the same day.

How to access our service
GPs within the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area can refer adult patients to the CFS/ME service using the referral form at the bottom of this page. Referrals are triaged and appropriate patients are invited to attend an appointment for an initial assessment. At the appointment, patients are assessed and confirmation of diagnosis is made by a specialist clinician based on the preliminary diagnosis from the referring GP. 

The team
The team consists of a Neuro Conditions Clinical Manager, Specialist Nurse Practitioner and three Specialist Occupational Therapists who specialise in the management of CFS/ME.  The team will aim to establish a supportive and collaborative relationship with the person with CFS/ME and their family/carers.

What the specialist service offers
The occupational therapists are specialist CFS/ME clinicians who have a wide range of skills and experience in the management of CFS/ME. They will support you to self-manage the condition in a way that is appropriate to you, providing you with the necessary skills and strategies to sustain or gradually extend, if possible, your physical, emotional and cognitive capacity and manage the physical and emotional impact of CFS/ME symptoms.

Although the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) 2007 guidelines for the management of CFS/ME are under review, there is evidence that activity management, relaxation, improving sleep and diet, exercise/physical activity, managing stress, unhelpful thinking patterns and setbacks can support improvement.

What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy is a holistic approach, providing practical support to enable people to facilitate recovery and overcome any barriers that prevent them from doing the activities (occupations) that matter to them. This helps to increase people's independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life. Occupation refers to practical and purposeful activities that allow people to live independently and have a sense of identity. This could be essential to day-to-day tasks such as self-care, work or leisure (College of Occupational Therapists, 2011).

Benefits of occupational therapy are:

  • Improved confidence and ability to self-manage CFS/ME symptoms and daily life.
  • Practical advice and solutions
  • Engagement and participation in occupations, activities and tasks which are meaningful and purposeful to you.
  • Increased awareness of services and support available
  • Returning to work or remaining in employment.

Where is the service provided?
The initial appointment with the specialist clinician is held at: 
Botolph Community Health CentreNene Valley Park, Sugar Way, WoodstonPeterborough, PE2 9RT or Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Rehabilitation Unit, Hinchingbrooke Park Road, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 4UX

Occupational Therapy appointments are offered at clinics in Peterborough (Botolph Bridge Community Health Centre), Cambridge (Brookfield’s Hospital), Doddington (Doddington Hospital) and Huntingdon (Hinchingbrooke Hospital). Therapy may last for up to 12 months, depending on the degree to which CFS/ME effects a person's functioning and daily life. Telephone and email support (including Skype if appropriate) can also be provided when face-to-face contact is difficult and in-between therapy sessions.

Getting started
There are a number of self-help booklets available which have been devised to help patients with CFS/ME to start to self-manage the condition more effectively.  The booklets are listed under the Bookshelf at the bottom of this page.

Contact details
CFS/ME Service, Administration Hub, 1 Commerce Road, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6LR,

T 0330 726 0077.
E cpm-tr.cfsme@nhs.net

If you have any questions about the CFS/ME service or would like to make a referral you can contact the Admin Team on 0330 726 0077.

Days / hours of operation - 9am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Feedback on our service
We would welcome your feedback on the CFS/ME service. Please click on the following link to complete the Trust Patient Experience and/or Carer Experience Survey www.cpft.nhs.uk/help/friends-and-family-.htm

Do you need an interpreter?
If you need an interpreter during your appointment / visit, please contact the Admin Team on 0330 726 0077 with as much notice as possible. The services of an interpreter are usually free of charge.

If you have any concerns about this service or suggestions for improvements, contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service Freephone 0800 376 0075 (office hours). A confidential email service is also available at: pals@cpft.nhs.uk

For free confidential health advice and information in a different format such as in large print or in a different language please contact the CFS/ME service using the details provided.

The page was last updated on 26 October 2018 by Mark.Cole.

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Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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