Manx Care is working with Alder Hey Hospital to set up an on-island service for children suffering from long Covid and ME/chronic fatigue syndrome.

And there are 108 on the waiting list for the current service for adults which was launched just over a year ago.

In Tynwald last month, Garff MHK and now Education Minister Daphne Caine asked how many patients have been seen by the service and what provision is being considered for children.

Health Minister Lawrie Hooper replied that the service started accepting referrals in January last year and as at February 12, a total of 139 patients had been seen.

He explained that the patient is assessed by the multi-disciplinary team and then directed to a workshop for a therapy programme and a bespoke plan put in place.

Mr Hooper said there are currently 17 people who have been referred and are awaiting the initial triage and a further 108 who are awaiting the start of therapy or attendance at a workshop.

The Minister said there is currently no service provision on-island for children who are suffering from ME/CFS or long Covid.

But he said: ‘Discussions have already commenced with Alder Hey children’s hospital. These have been focused on the practicalities of Manx Care becoming a spoke provider of a service for children, with Alder Hey taking the role of hub.

‘This would mean that on-island we would provide the same treatment pathways as Alder Hey with specialists in Alder Hey delivering direct care in specialist cases.

‘There will be a requirement for investment in the service and this will be ascertained as part of the service design process between Manx Care’s children’s therapies team, the paediatrics team and specialists at Alder Hey.’

Mr Hooper said the service was originally scoped for up to 350 patients with ME/CFS plus an additional 1,000 adults with long Covid but the actual numbers were quite low and he was comfortable that the service adequately covered demand. He said he didn’t have figures on the number of children registered as suffering ME/CFS or long Covid.