A dedicated rehabilitation service has been launched to help children diagnosed with ME.

The NHS-run scheme is for children in the Brighton and Hove area and will give them the support and help needed to battle the condition.

The move has been praised by charities and parents, who say the sooner a person is diagnosed and getting treatment, the less the chance of their condition deteriorating.

The Sussex ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Society has campaigned for several years for a dedicated paediatric service in the city.

It believes the new scheme, along with an existing treatment service for adults based in Haywards Heath, will help sufferers lead more active lives.

Sussex ME Society specialist advisor Esther Crawley said: “I am delighted that children will now be able to access a local service.

“ME in children is common, disabling and yet treatable if children access a specialist service.”

Early diagnosis

Sophia Trewick, 13, from Brighton, was successfully treated for ME after being diagnosed more than two years ago.

Her mother Julia said: “This is great news and I am glad other children may now benefit.

“She is doing really well now and I think it was the fact it was picked up at an early stage that made such a difference for Sophia.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Sussex said: “We are fully committed to ensuring that children and young people with ME receive the best quality care for their condition, and this includes rehabilitation.”

Children with suspected ME are referred to Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital by their GP, where they will be seen by a consultant paediatrician who will assess, investigate and make a diagnosis.

They will then get support from a rehabilitation team based at Brighton General Hospital.

This includes access to therapies and the team will also work with schools and other organisations involved in a child's care to create a tailor-made treatment plan.

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