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Our Staff

The Fatigue Clinic

Dr Gerald Coakley PhD FRCP (Consultant Physician & Rheumatologist)

Ms Gabriella Airey BSc (Hons) Psychol. Dip Psychol, Cert Cog. (Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist)

Dr Alastair Santhouse MA, MB BChir, MRCP, MRCPsych (Consultant Psychiatrist)

We have been working together managing patients with ME/CFS for more than fifteen years, and have a good track record of helping sufferers improve their symptoms of fatigue and quality of life. We cannot offer any guarantee of success, but in many cases we have been able to help those initially too ill to work to the point where they could return to their former job, or start retraining in a new field of employment.

We have considerable experience of working with employers and insurers to facilitate the process of returning to work in a properly graded manner. We work closely with the multidisciplinary team at Vitality360 , which comprises Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, a Nutrionist and a Psychologist, all experienced in the management of ME/CFS and of Long Covid.

Patient Feedback

"I fell ill with a viral infection, later diagnosed as probable COVID-19, in mid-March 2020. My symptoms were relatively mild but the infection and my recovery coincided with the birth of my first child and the first week of lockdown: in combination a highly stressful situation. After the infection subsided, I experienced post-viral symptoms, including fatigue, sleep disturbance, and tingling (pins and needles) sensations. I struggled to concentrate, which inhibited my ability to socialise and negatively affected my work. The symptoms were, or appeared to be, exacerbated by exercise. At their worst, I was unable to carry out simple household tasks without triggering physical symptoms and could not work a full day, but had to rest in the afternoon. These symptoms persisted for 2-3 months, at which point I obtained a referral to Dr Coakley. I was diagnosed with post-viral fatigue and advised to work half-days for a month. I saw some consequential improvement and, after a follow-up consultation, I was referred for a course of CBT with Gabriela Airey. I had immediate further improvement as a result of starting CBT and with Gabriela's encouragement I slowly began to exercise again. I am now able to work full time again and to exercise 3-4 times a week. My symptoms have not entirely disappeared, but they have diminished very significantly and, to all intents and purposes, I am now leading a normal family and work life."

Tom, lawyer aged 36, with Post COVID-19 Syndrome.
Name changed to protect patient confidentiality

"I had been ill for over 6 months when I received my diagnosis of ME/CFS. It was having a profound impact on my life at the time - I was unable to work, unable to do any exercise other than short walks, my social life and relationships were compromised, I wasn't able to live independently and look after myself properly so I moved back in with my parents.

Once I had my diagnosis of ME/CFS confirmed I was fortunate enough to be referred to a CBT specialist (Gabriela) where I started a programme of CBT. I have worked with Gabriela for 8 months where we created a programme tailored to my recovery. Firstly, we understood my baseline of activity, rest and sleep and sought to increase (e.g. exercise) or decrease (e.g. sleep) where appropriate. We also explored my thoughts, feelings and behaviours that were contributing to maintaining the condition and how to challenge these.

The process wasn't easy - there were lots of tears, despair and a lot of hard work but I trusted in the process and I trusted my specialist. She guided me, challenged me, and helped me reframe my condition, focus on progress and what I could do versus what I couldn't. Exercise, improving sleep quality (rather than quantity), challenging assumptions about what it means to have ME/CFS and sustainably increasing activity in a controlled way have helped me make a lot of progress with recovery. Unfortunately, you don't get a 'day off' or 'holiday' from ME/CFS, so following the programme consistently everyday was the hardest part but I believe was also key to the progress I've made and to avoid any kind of boom and bust e.g., I dragged myself off the sofa to do the 'couch to 5k' when I felt so tired that I couldn't put one foot in front of the other, got up at the same time every day despite wanting to sleep until noon. I also had a lot of help from family and loved ones who were there and able to best support me once I knew how to articulate what I needed from them (i.e. they would help hold me to account).

I am now back at work (after a phased return over a number of months), I jog 3 times a week, and am back living independently with friends and am living as 'normal' a life as possible in a global pandemic. I am focusing on keeping the good habits engrained, maintaining boundaries and not panicking if I have a few days where my symptoms are worse. I would not have believed I would be in this position a year ago, and want you to know it is possible that things can get better."

Clare, Management Consultant aged 30, presented with ME/CFS in 2020.
Name changed to protect patient confidentiality

Contact Us

For all general enquiries contact Secretary Anne Hillman;
Tel: 07460 719269

For invoice and billing queries please contact Hythe Hopes;
Tel: 01702 382362
Fax: 01702 384037

The Harley Street Clinic

16 Devonshire Street
London W1G 7AF

By appointment agreed with your solicitor.

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