WE are writing, on behalf of members of the Herefordshire CFS/ME/FMS Group, to highlight Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Myalgic Encephalomy- elitis (ME), Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)) and to bring them to the notice of Herefordshire people.

Anyone can develop these conditions at any age. They are life-changing, debilitating, and symptoms for all three conditions can include profound exhaustion/fatigue, widespread severe pain, flu-like symptoms, stomach and digestive problems, memory and concentration loss, disturbed/unrefreshing sleep, intolerances/increased sensitivity and more. Non-sufferers find it difficult to appreciate how ill a person is, because we look normal.

There are no facilities/clinics to help people with these illnesses in Herefordshire, and diagnosis is difficult and can take up to three years.

On July 1, there was a parliamentary debate on fibromyalgia, which is an important step forward towards getting the condition recognised throughout the country.

Key points were raised, which not only apply to FMS, but to ME/CFS as well.

l Education and knowledge of FMS/ME/CFS must be improved among GPs and other health professionals to help improve diagnosis of these conditions.

l Strategies should be promoted and developed within the NHS to provide an integrated and holistic service with patient empowerment as key.

l The NHS should aim to set up a network of clinics across the country, so that patients who have a flare-up have somewhere to go for treatment other than A&E or hospital.

Our group meets on the first Saturday of every month (except January), from 2.30pm at the Aspire Community Hub, Canal Road, Hereford, HR1 2EA. Anyone is welcome to attend or check our facebook page on, facebook.com/CFS.ME.FMS.Group for up-to-date information on meetings.

TONY ADAMS & PAT ADAMS Co-chairs, Herefordshire CFS/ME/FMS Group