We are very sad to say goodbye at the end of 2020 to two people who have been involved in the ME Trust right from the start. Dr Paul Worthley pioneered the multi-disciplinary approach to treating patients with ME/CFS, which is the hallmark of the ME Trust. As a physician for over 20 years at Burrswood Hospital in Kent, he believed very strongly in whole person care. Each person was treated as an individual with a body, mind and spirit – as a whole person. Dr Paul saw how a combination of medical advice, physiotherapy, rest and talking therapies could bring improvement, and in some cases complete recovery, to people who had been severely affected by ME and often bedbound for many years.
Since leaving Burrswood he has led our clinical team and established a way of remote working, offering consultations by phone and video-link, and home visits for those who are severely affected and housebound. Paul’s kindness, intelligence, empathy and integrity are legendary, not just among his patients but also among his colleagues. He is greatly respected by the wider ME community and has contributed to research and dialogue to improve awareness of the crippling, chronic and largely unrecognised disease which is ME. He is not only a brilliant doctor, but also a wonderful human being.
Working alongside Dr Paul at Burrswood as Head of Physiotherapy was Sue Pople. She joined Paul at the ME Trust to provide a very special kind of physiotherapy; gentle, practical, and caring. Unlike the classic image of a fierce “physioterrorist” Sue has always been sensitive to the needs and wishes of her patients. She has enabled many people with ME to find a comfortable position for rest and relaxation, relieving fatigue and enabling refreshing sleep; visiting those severely affected in their homes and providing detailed advice tailored to their own particular situation. She is a very special person.
Both Dr Paul and Sue have brought huge commitment and energy and enabled the ME Trust to grow and reach more people with ME/CFS. Both of them have journeyed alongside their patients for as long as it takes, in some cases for years. They have built relationships of trust and so many patients have benefitted from their wisdom, support and practical advice. We cannot begin to thank them enough for all they have done, and to say that we will miss them is the understatement of the year.
I am sure you will join me in wishing them both a very long and happy retirement.