1,300-strong petition against ME unit closure at Romford hospital

More than 1,300 people have put their names to a petition to stop the closure of a specialist unit for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) sufferers at Queen’s Hospital.

Campaigners will hand signatures to hospital bosses on Friday in the hope of saving the six-bed facility, in Rom Valley Way, Romford.

The unit, the national centre of excellence for the condition, is currently under review following the retirement of the lead consultant.

Sufferer Victoria Palmer, from Harold Hill - who has been both an inpatient and outpatient at the clinic for years - said: “We are doing everything we can to try to keep the CFS unit open.”

The 30-year-old added: “It has been both devastating and heartwarming to read how many people have been affected by this issue and how many, both in and outside of Romford, will be affected if this unit closes.”

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The hospital has said the unit is untenable in light of declining numbers of local referrals and better at-home help.

CFS, also known as ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis), is a condition where victims experience intense physical and mental exhaustion.

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If axed, the service would be replaced with better facilities for those with head injuries, a hospital spokesman said.

Patient Scott Clark wrote on the petition website: “I spent five months under Professor Findley and the CFS team at Queen’s Hospital in 2008. I would never have had any chance of recovery from my 17-year battle with severe ME with nobody in Scotland being able to help me.

“It would be a crime to close this unit and many lives of sufferers and their families will be ruined if this were to happen.”

To add your name to the protest go to: www.ipetitions.com/petition/stopcfsunitclosure/signatures

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