During ME Awareness time we are pleased to be able to report that a recent survey we have run in Sussex shows that although ME can be a long-term, seriously disabling illness for some people, there is much that can be done to help many patients make significant improvements.

Working with the Brighton And Sussex Medical School, our organisation ran a survey about the experiences of those affected by Myalgic Encephalopathy or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome across the county. This is the first professionally run comprehensive study of its type and the findings are being seriously viewed by service providers and users alike.

The project looked at which NHS and other services people are using and how helpful these services are to patients. The questionnaire also enquired about which treatment approaches are being tried and how helpful those are. After analysing nearly 500 completed questionnaires, findings show that a number of treatments and approaches are helping a lot of people affected by the debilitating illness and that many doctors in the area are seen by ME patients as being reasonably helpful, as is the Burgess Hill-based NHS centre.

Of those who have practised the management approach of Pacing, a massive 94% found it of some help or very helpful. Treatments such as specialist Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has helped 74% of those who have tried it and specialist pain medications have helped the majority prescribed them, as have low doses of particular antidepressants that can help some with sleep, mood and pain. Lifestyle courses run by the NHS center and the Expert Patient Programmes are helping a lot of people, and alternative approaches such as yoga, nutrition, acupuncture and homeopathy along with the Lightning Process are rated highly by many patients who have benefited from them.

For more information we can be reached on 01273 674828.

Colin Barton, Chairman, Sussex ME/CFS Society, www.measussex.org.uk