The Government has announced that 12 new centres and local support teams helping people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic encephalopy (CFS/ME) will be set up in Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham/West Midlands, East Midlands, East Anglia, North London (St Bartholomew's), Surrey (Sutton), Bath/Bristol and Cornwall/Devon.

The centres will improve care of patients with CFS/ME by: giving access to specialist assessment, diagnosis and advice; developing education and training resources for health professionals; and supporting clinical research into the causes and treatment of CFS/ME.

Twenty-eight local support teams throughout the country will provide support for those people with CFS/ME by: providing rehabilitation programmes to help increase energy and activity levels; establishing a network of local domiciliary services for those who are house- or bed-bound; helping GPs and other health professionals develop self-management initiatives with local self-help groups.

Health Minister Stephen Ladyman said: "These new centres and local teams mean that we can start developing focused, local services that will make a real difference to people's lives. The support, empathy and understanding of health professionals are important factors in the care of people with this condition. The education and training provided by the centres will be invaluable in providing health professionals with the information they need to help their patients."

Chris Clark, Chief Executive for Action for ME, welcomed the initiative saying: "People with CFS/ME not only know that their illness has been recognised, but that they can now hope for the support, knowledge and understanding that its severity merits."

A list of the local support teams and further information is available online.