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Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a controversial condition that many occupational physicians find difficult to advise on. In this article we review the nature and definition of CFS, the principal aetiologic hypotheses and the evidence concerning prognosis. We also outline a practical approach to patient assessment, diagnosis and management. The conclusions of this review are then applied to the disability discrimination field. The implications of the new UK occupational health legislation are also examined. Despite continuing controversy about the status, aetiology and optimum management of CFS, we argue that much can be done to improve the outcome for patients with this condition. The most urgent needs are for improved education and rehabilitation, especially in regard to employment. Occupational physicians are well placed to play an important and unique role in meeting these needs.


Journal article


Occup Med (Lond)

Publication Date





217 - 227


Employment, Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic, Humans, Mental Disorders, Occupational Diseases, Occupational Health, Pensions, Physical Examination, Prognosis, Prospective Studies, Social Security, United Kingdom