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Oxfordshire Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / ME Service

stepping stones

“It really helps to accept what’s happened and where you are now, have hope for the future and go forward with a stepping stone approach to recovery”
Someone recovering from CFS/ME

We are a community service for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), their families and carers. (The service was previously known as OCCMET.)

The team is made up of therapists and a GP, all specialists in CFS/ME. We see adults and young people (currently those over 14 years old) who have an Oxfordshire GP. We also act as a specialist resource to other professionals in healthcare, social and community care, education and workplaces.

We provide a personalised service that assists people to a place of self-management and towards recovery. We utilise a range of individual and group programmes. Initial meetings are arranged in your local area, or at home if necessary.

Above all, we recognise that treating each person as a unique individual is at the heart of their recovery process.

We plan to add a page soon of messages of encouragement from people who have recovered and others who are recovering from CFS/ME.

CFS/ME is a relatively common condition which can have a profound impact on a person, as well as their family. It affects people of all ages. Extreme fatigue most of the time is the main symptom – this is very different from ordinary tiredness and is not alleviated by rest. Simple mental or physical tasks can leave the person feeling exhausted and struggling to function.


Symptoms vary from person to person and include:

  • severe fatigue
  • feeling ill or flu-like, with swollen glands and sore throat
  • joint and muscle pain
  • sleep disturbance
  • digestive problems
  • memory and concentration difficulties
  • word finding difficulties
  • sensitivity to light and sound



Early diagnosis and management advice leads to positive outcomes and varying degrees of recovery (recommendations are in NICE Guidelines for CFS/ME, 2007 ).

Initially there are some general management strategies that are important to implement. These will assist you to regain some control of your energy levels, starting from where you are now. You may be able to put these strategies into practice through self-help resources (click here to read the Action for ME booklet about Pacing), or through discussion with your GP or other healthcare professionals, or you may benefit from specialist support. Your GP can refer you for this.


Your GP will generally make the diagnosis, and may give management advice for people with mild presentations of the condition. Diagnosis is made after screening out other conditions (through blood tests) and through identification of how the condition began and has continued.

Your GP can refer for confirmation of diagnosis from our service.

Children and young people should be referred to a paediatrician by their GP, and if over 14 may then be referred to us for specific programmes.

Referral is made using the Oxfordshire CFS/ME Service referral form, available to GPs (email address: / telephone: 01993 848266)

Our GP will confirm the diagnosis and then we will recommend the next step for you (or if it is not CFS/ME we will refer you back to your GP with recommendations).

Treatment programmes

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, we will make recommendations for the best course of action for you on the basis of your particular circumstances.  Whatever option is for you, it’s helpful to set an outcome for something that you’re looking forward to achieving either in the short term or the longer term. There are a range of programmes and resources:

Group programmes

As this condition can be very isolating, group programmes can be especially helpful in providing the opportunity to find that others have experienced similar difficulties and disruptions in life, and identifying together the best ways forward, alongside people already on their recovery journeys and experienced CFS/ME professionals.

  • Introduction to managing CFS/ME – these programmes run in different Oxfordshire localities throughout the year.  A family member/significant other can also attend.  Each programme has someone attending who is already recovering from CFS/ME and who can share their experiences.  (People attending those groups have the opportunity to become the future ‘recovery members’ in subsequent groups).
  • Mindfulness – these programmes are provided through Talking Space Plus (this is the part of Oxfordshire Talking Space that provides for people with CFS/ME, also part of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust).

Individual programmes

For people who are severely affected – we will tailor a programme to your current energy level.  All we ask is that you are willing to explore different and possibly new options available to you, starting small and gently. We can contact you though home visits, phone, Skype, email or audio files.

  • Individual preparation – to assist you to attend a group programme or for specific areas of attention.
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) – provided by Talking Space Plus, (this is the part of Oxfordshire Talking Space that provides for people with CFS/ME, also part of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust).
  • Return to work/education – planning for this may be included in a programme.

Children and Young People (from 14 upwards)

We will work with you and your family to develop an individualised programme to help with managing energy and activity levels, utilising strategies to gradually rebuild both physical and mental strength and stamina.

We will also work together with your school to help plan for your educational needs to be met in the most appropriate way.

Other agencies

Depending on your situation other services or agencies may be helpful to you; we will advise you if so.

Welfare benefits

While we hope that ultimately you will return to independence, there are times for some people when welfare support is helpful.

  • Assistance with applications can be gained through local CAB and in some cases from Oxon Welfare Rights:

Expert Patients Programme

The Expert Patients Programme (EPP) is a self-management programme for people who are living with a chronic (long-term) condition.

You can find out more here:


Oxfordshire CFS/ME Service
Office only at:

Windrush House

Windrush Industrial Estate


OX29 7DX

Phone: 01865 903757 | Fax: 01865 337540



Older People services

Last updated: 18 January, 2019

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