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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.