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    Created in 2008, Phoenix Rising is the largest and oldest forum dedicated to furthering the understanding of and finding treatments for complex chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia (FM), long COVID, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and allied diseases.

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Dr Ashok Bhalla

Hi, this is my first post to any forum ever. A well meaning friend enthusiastically gave me the phone number of a Dr Ashok Bhalla last week, and told me he is a specialist in M.E in private practise near Bath, U.K. Allegedly he has helped someone she knows "recover".
As a veteran of snake oil salesmen, having been diagnosed with M.E/C.F.S 5 years ago and Fibromyalgia last year I am more than a little skeptical. Especially as she confidently told me it's a blood disorder! My partner is desperate to get me help and doesn't experience the same crushing disappointment we experience when one thing after another doesn't work, and offered to pay for a consultation. Out of courtesy I offered to find out what I could.
Does anyone have any experience with Dr Bhalla? All I could find is that he is a consultant rheumatologist and Medical Director at Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (or "the Min") near Bath. Thankyou.

sarah darwins

Senior Member
Cornwall, UK
"The Min" has a page on its approach to me/cfs, which doesn't inspire great confidence:

What we offer
Our service provides specialist assessment clinics and treatment based on the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines for the management of CFS/ME. These include:

  • support with pacing and activity/energy management to help individuals manage their energy more effectively. This can include graded activity/exercise
  • support and advice on working or studying with CFS/ME. Our service can also work with the individual’s employer and occupational health provider to facilitate continuing in, or returning to, employment or education
  • general advice and support on issues related to CFS/ME. Telephone assessment and/or treatment can also be provided when face-to-face contact is difficult
  • psychological interventions to enable people to understand how their thoughts, feelings, behaviours and symptoms may interact, in order to recognise helpful and unhelpful patterns that may impact how they manage their CFS/ME.
Management strategies can be provided on a group or an individual basis.

source: http://www.rnhrd.nhs.uk/page/84

edit: having said that, there are some people in the NHS with quite enlightened views which they keep quiet about in public. The website says pretty much what all these "cfs/me service" websites have to say in the UK. It may be worth finding out more.
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Senior Member
thank god u have some sense...Is he going to see u privately... charge you 350 quid..and tell u he can't find anything wrong on your blood work??

Blood disorder my foot..
I'm not sure what he offers privately, I know I could just ring the number she gave me but I want to know if anyone else has experience. And yes, he would offer private treatment. I know the hospital can only offer CBT/GET and I've tried that, to the point of collapse. My partner was convinced by our friend's enthusiasm, me not so much. As @aquariusgirl says, he may just take blood and tell me there's nothing wrong for lots of money. Plus it is 3 hours to Bath from where I live.


Senior Member
I have a handy little rule of thumb -- if there isn't a lot of positive talk about an ME specialist here at PR, the chance that s/he's a decent doctor using biomedical (as opposed to psychological or snake oil) treatments is practically nil. This is probably the biggest and most active forum of ME patients in the world. If we don't know about him, he's not doing great things for patients or we'd have heard about him. There are too many desperate patients in the UK for a decent ME specialist to be missed by the many UK patients here.

My quick search of PR found absolutely nothing about Dr Bhalla. That suggests to me that he's the typical NHS doctor who thinks ME is psychosomatic illness or at best is unwilling or unable to give you any worthwhile treatment.