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BBC Radio 4: Doctors with M.E. feature on flagship Woman’s Hour

ME, Long Covid and the NICE Guideline 2021 Delay

Doctors with M.E. Director, Dr. Nina Muirhead, and Doctors with M.E Honorary Fellow and Action for ME Medical Advisor, Dr. David Strain, discuss ME/CFS, Long Covid, the NICE guideline delay and the need for more education and resources in an interview on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. 

Dr. Muirhead describes how ME is a complex, debilitating neurological condition with a wide range of symptoms and emphasises the harm that Graded Exercise can have on patients with this illness:

…people with ME have reduced cardiopulmonary function, reduction in their anaerobic threshold, cognitive impairment which is exacerbated after exercise, prolonged recovery time and increased acidosis. Exercise makes these people sicker.

BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, Dr. Nina Muirhead, Director, Doctors with M.E.

Dr. Strain discusses how ME/CFS is a post-viral condition with multiple viral triggers and how we do not yet fully understand what the body goes through during and after an infection.  Both Muirhead and Strain also highlight how the lack of research, training and resources regarding ME/CFS has impacted on ME patients and is now affecting the ability of the NHS to manage long Covid. 

I think there are major problems and the NICE delay is the tip of the iceberg. What [has] happened here is there has been a lack of infrastructure set up in the NHS to actually deal with these patients. They need a consultant-led service, GPs need to be better educated and equipped to deal with day-to-day problems and patients need regular reviews.”

It has come to a head over long Covid. If we’d have sorted this out…15-20 years ago, we wouldn’t be struggling to provide a multi-disciplinary team service for long Covid patients now.”

BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, Dr. David Strain, Doctors with M.E. Honorary Fellow

The full interview aired on BBC Radio 4 on 24th August 2021 and is available to listen here:

BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, via Broken Battery YouTube Channel

Additional Resources

An Overlooked Determinant of Symptoms and Activity Limitation in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? . Davenport TE, Lehnen M, Stevens SR, VanNess JM, Stevens J, Snell CR. 7, s.l. : Frontiers in Pediatrics, 2019, Vol. 22. 82. doi: 10.3389/fped.2019.00082

Post-exertional symptoms distinguish Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome subjects from healthy controls. . Mateo LJ, Chu L, Stevens S, Stevens J, Snell CR, Davenport T, VanNess JM. 2, s.l. : Work, 2020, Vol. 66. 265-275. doi: 10.3233/WOR-203168

Prefrontal cortex oxygenation during incremental exercise in chronic fatigue syndrome. Patrick Neary J, Roberts AD, Leavins N, Harrison MF, Croll JC, Sexsmith JR. 6, s.l. : Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging., 2008, Vol. 28. 364-72. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-097X.2008.00822.x

Dr. Nina Muirhead

Director

Dermatology Surgeon, Chair of CFS/ME Research Collaborative Medical Education Working Group, Forward ME representative, Expert Witness, UK National Institute of Health and Care Excellence.

BA(Oxon), BMBCh(Oxon), MRCS, DOHNS, MEd, PGDipDerm

Dr. Nina Muirhead is a Dermatology Surgeon at the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and is a founding contributor to Doctors with M.E. Since becoming ill with M.E. in September 2016, she has done much to raise awareness of M.E., speaking and writing in various forums in the UK and abroad, including the Cambridge GP Society, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Royal College of Physicians and the British Medical Journal.

Dr. Muirhead is Chair of the CFS/ME Research Collaborative (CMRC) Medical Education Working Group and a member of the Forward ME group of UK ME charities. She is also author of the free ME/CFS online training module on Study PRN, which carries 1 CPD credit. Dr. Muirhead is active in research and education, and supervises several medical students on their projects on ME/CFS.

Dr. David Strain

Honorary Fellow

Long Covid Lead and Co-Chair Medical Academic Staff Committee, British Medical Association, Medical Advisor, Action for ME, Senior Clinical Lecturer, University of Exeter, Honorary Consultant, UK NHS

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