A MOTHER from Bromsgrove has described her ordeal with Lyme disease as a ‘ticking time bomb’.

And she is calling on the NHS for more support and treatment for those suffering from ongoing chronic symptoms.

Tracey Winchester was a fit and healthy 41 year old before she was diagnosed with Lyme disease last March.

Despite the recommended treatment of two antibiotic courses, she is still experiencing symptoms such as chronic fatigue and pains.

There are no clear guidelines provided by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for treatment of persistent symptoms.

The health guidance body advice reads: “If a person has ongoing symptoms following two completed courses of antibiotics for Lyme disease, do not routinely offer further antibiotics and consider discussion with a national reference laboratory or discussion or referral to a specialist.”

But charity Lyme Disease UK said there are no Lyme disease specialists within the NHS.

Bromsgrove Advertiser: Tracy first discovered the rash in March last year. Tracy first discovered the rash in March last year.

After seeking private medical help, Tracey recruited the aid of a German consultant who has clinically diagnosed her with chronic Lyme disease.

She said: “At the beginning of the Covid pandemic, I developed a large rash which was incredibly itchy.

“The NHS were incredibly overwhelmed and NHS 111 said it would be hours before they gave me a call back.

“I accessed an online GP surgery via a pharmacy and was diagnosed with Lyme disease based on the rash alone.”

After a second round of antibiotics, she still felt unwell and developed a chronic sore throat.

She said: “No one knew what was going on. I was referred to ear, nose and throat specialists and got told there was a mild link with Lyme disease but nothing was offered.

“Since then every day I get fatigued, and some days I have nothing in me and no energy.

“I had my first appointment with an infectious disease specialist at Worcester Royal hospital last week and there was no clear answer. They will say its anything but chronic Lyme disease.”

She said the illness has knocked her off her feet.

“I have two kids with special educational needs and I am really struggling to provide the care they need,” she said.

“It is tough and there’s no obvious answer other than to pay for private treatment.

Bromsgrove Advertiser: Tracy is also a joint co-ordinator of SEND National Crisis Worcestershire, campaigning for special educational needs locally and nationally.Tracy is also a joint co-ordinator of SEND National Crisis Worcestershire, campaigning for special educational needs locally and nationally.

“I can’t see how I will prioritise the money for my treatment over the money I spend on caring for my children.

“Equally if I don’t do anything, I will get worse and get more disabled than I already am.

“It feels like a ticking time bomb, desperately trying to access treatment before I can’t function at all.”

A spokesperson for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said they were not able to comment on individual patient’s cases.

They said: “Our clinical teams follow national best practice guidance on treating all forms of Lyme, and ensure every patient is treated as an individual on a case by case basis.

“When appropriate, our teams also work with experts from the national NHS Lyme centre to help explain to our patients what treatment options are available to them.

“We always strive to ensure that all our patients are treated with the utmost care and compassion.”

They said any patient concerned about their treatment should get in touch with the trust’s patient advice and liaison service.

A spokesperson for Lyme Disease UK said: “Currently the treatment offered by the NHS is largely aimed at acute cases of Lyme disease.

“There is much debate about whether persisting symptoms are caused by ongoing infection or a post infectious syndrome.

“This debate doesn’t help patients who are suffering debilitating persistent symptoms and there needs to be far more research into Lyme disease and appropriate drug protocols to treat it. “

Tracy has set up a justgiving page to fund private treatment and testing that is predicted to be around £7,000.