Council voices support for Hope 4 ME and Fibro

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Alderman William Leathem received full support from fellow Councillors at Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council full meeting for his notice of motion calling on the Heath Minister to support the ongoing and productive work of Hope 4 ME & Fibro Northern Ireland.

The Charity is campaigning for the provision of a Specialist Consultant with biomedical knowledge and experience for the 7000 plus ME and 17,000 fibromyalgia sufferers in Northern Ireland.

“Hope 4 ME & Fibro Northern Ireland ran an ambitious and exciting conference recently,” said Mr Leathem. “The conference, ‘Chasing Competent Care’, delivered a strong message calling for change to the currently inadequate care situation for ME and fibromyalgia patients in Northern Ireland.

“Generally now, most GPs and heath service staff do their utmost to help patients within their remit but they lack the support of a consultant physician with specialist biomedical knowledge. The HSCB stated recently there is 500 new cases of ME alone per year.

Millions of people worldwide suffer from ME and fibromyalgia, with symptoms including fatigue, impaired cognitive function, memory loss, word searching or saying the wrong word, sleep disturbance, flu-like malaise, cold hands and feet, chronic muscle and joint pains, severe headache, numbness and tingling sensations, dizziness, depression, anxiety, mood swings, paralysis, severe muscle weakness, difficulty with mobility, light sensitivity, IBS, nausea, dry eyes.

“I have suffered for nearly 20 years myself and I know at the time it took over five years for a diagnosis.

“I did not raise this issue for myself but for the hundreds of suffers within our council area and tens of thousands within Northern Ireland who don’t have the opportunity..”

Mr Leathem thanked his fellow councillors for their support.

The council have now agreed to write to the Stormont Health Minister, as well as the 10 other local Councils asking for their support, all MLAs within Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area, and Mr David Simpson MP Upper Bann, the NI Fibromyalgia Ambassador.