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Westcare UK (originally just "Westcare") was started in 1989 in Bristol by Dr Richard Sykes (not a MD), when he saw the plight of a friend with ME who was receiving no meaningful help or support from the medical profession.
History[edit | edit source]
By the end of the 1990s, Westcare had an office, and team of trained ME counsellors, occupational therapists, and nutritionists, all with a solid grounding of the reality of the illness.
Westcare's principal advocation was for PACING, where a person with ME is encouraged to stay within their limits and avoid inevitabel crashes; all their counsellors were trained to advise this correctly.
In addition, Westcare ran week-long "Residential Rehabilitation" courses for sufferers, which proved very popular and were often oversubscribed.
Westcare also had a dedicated team of telephone support workers, and for 4 hours each weekday, anyone could call call Westcare where a trained support worker would give free support, advice, or just an understanding shoulder to cry on.
Merger with Action for ME[edit | edit source]
In 2003-4, following Richard Sykes' retirement, Action for ME approached Westcare (by now rebranded Westcare UK), with a view to a merger. In early 2004, the whole of Action for ME met with Westcare UK staff and volunteers in Wells Town hall, and the merger was announced.
The telephone support line did not survive the merger / takeover, nor did the residential rehabilitation courses. However, some staff from Westcare continued working for AfME for a while, and others (such as Phil Murray would return to AfME years later.
Westcare patrons included Dr Clare Fleming (of "The Glass Cage"), and Jim Broadbent.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) - A disease often marked by neurological symptoms, but fatigue is sometimes a symptom as well. Some diagnostic criteria distinguish it from chronic fatigue syndrome, while other diagnostic criteria consider it to be a synonym for chronic fatigue syndrome. A defining characteristic of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM), or post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion (PENE), which is a notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others. An estimated 25% of those suffering from ME are housebound or bedbound. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological disease.
Action for ME (AfME) - Action for ME is a British non-profit organization that was set up in 1987 as The M.E. Action Campaign. Its founders were Martin Lev, Sue Findlay and Clare Francis. In September 1993 it changed its name and logo to Action for ME and Chronic Fatigue. It then changed its name in 1993 to Action for ME.