Project information

Early and accurate diagnosis of M.E.

People with ME symptoms should not wait to get better but MUST urgently seek help – to 'catch' their illness before it develops into something more serious. At the heart of this project is a campaign for early and accurate diagnosis.

April 2016 - June 2016

Charity information: ME Association

ME Association logo
  • Need

    Need

    There's no set test for M.E. It can be difficult to diagnose. Many people are left undiagnosed for months, even years, in a state of worsening health before they receive their diagnosis. By this time it 's too late to take some simple self-help measures to improve their chances of recovery. The outcome can be continuing decline in health, inability to work or even function well within the family. M.E. affects 250,000 adults and children in the UK. The loss to our nation's health is appalling

    Solution

    We will produce some simple materials to launch a 'Diagnose M.E. Quickly' campaign aimed at doctors and other health and social care professionals, while at the same time achieving 'buy in' to the campaign itself from people with the illness, their carers, relatives and other interested parties. We have applied for a BBC R4 Appeal to coincide with the campaign and will also seek to make it part of the national news agenda during ME Awareness Week in May 2016.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To remind GPs that they must not neglect their role in the early and accurate diagnosis of M.E.

    Activities

    » Sending a 'Catch M.E. Early' card to as many GP surgeries as funds allow. Seminar on the subject for GPs and other professionals. Media activity.

    By catching and recording all responses from GPs and their staff.
    By monitoring and recording the seminar outcomes.
    By monitoring requests for further information.


    Aim 2

    To ensure that other professionals with M.E. clients understand the importance of early diagnosis.

    Activities

    » Seeking to widen our networks of contacts with other professionals so they can spread the message.

    By catching and recording all responses from other health and social care professionals.
    By monitoring requests for further information from this sector.


    Aim 3

    To persuade people with M.E., their families and carers of the necessity to support the project.

    Activities

    » Through publicity in our membership magazine, website, Facebook and other social media and one-to-one contact with key influencers in our community.

    By recording the pledges and donations to the project.
    By catching and recording all relevant responses.


  • Impact

    Impact

    In the long-term, we hope this project will result in better health for people with M.E.

    It will help widen awareness among GPs that they have important role in taking responsibility for early and accurate diagnosis, that they probably need to seek further training to help with this, and that they should not be neglecting the care of patients whom many GPs still regard as a particularly 'difficult to treat' group.

    We will publish the success stories as we find them.

    Risk

    GPs could choose to ignore the project. We will have the backing of a group of their patients who will be asking why they are being ignored?

    The project could be criticised by health professionals promoting the psychosomatic nature of M.E. We say the research is beginning to understand the pathology and will one day provide us with an accepted range of diagnostic tests. In the meantime, GPs have an imperative to engage with M.E. to improve the health of their patients.

    Reporting

    We will report to donors via our membership magazine, website and social media - Including a Facebook page which typically attracts 40,000 visitors a week. Individual contacts will be made as necessary.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £20,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £14,000 Cards/leaflets Printing, distribution to GP surgeries
      £6,000 Seminar Organisational and publication expenses
  • Background

    Location

    UK-wide

    Beneficiaries

    People with M.E., otherwise known as chronic fatigue syndrome, who in the long term may benefit from earlier improvements in their health – rather than being largely ignored by and invisible to healthcare professionals.

    GPs who should acquire the extra confidence they need to deal with patients who are at present often regarded as a a 'difficult-to-treat' group and who are often misdiagnosed or simply ignored.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have been working with this patient group since 1976, and have developed a wide range of networks round the UK to represent their interests.

    We also have a reputation for intimate and speedy communication with people with the illness and their families (borne out by recent private polling and survey work) who generally trust what we do and appreciate both our ability to work as part of teams while being unafraid to publish independent critiques when necessary.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.

    People

    Helen Hyland, Fundraising Manager, ME Association

    Helen will run the project and ensure it achieves its objectives.

    Tony Britton, Publicity Manager, ME Association

    Tony will ensure we give out clear, unambiguous messages to all potential and actual supporters.

    Dr Charles Shepherd, Medical Adviser, ME Association

    Charles will provide professional oversight.