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Professor Esther Crawley

Professor Esther Crawley

Professor Esther Crawley
BA(Hons), BM BCh(Oxon.), PhD(U.C.Lond.)

Professor of Child Health

Office 1.14
1-5 Whiteladies Road,
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 42 83073


My research concentrates on the epidemiology and treatment of CFS/ME.

We have currently recruiting into two trials, the MAGENTA trial which is investigating the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of Graded Exercise Therapy and the FITNET-NHS trial which is investigating the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of internet delivered CBT. 

For information on FITNET-NHS please see

We have finished recruiting into the SMILE trial. For further information please see

The University of Bristol has several statements about the CFS/ME research which can be found here:




Professor Esther Crawley, is a Professor of Child Health at the University of Bristol and a Consultant Paediatrician with a special interest in CFS/ME. She set up and leads the Bath specialist CFS/ME service for children based at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. This service provides assessment and treatment for over 400 children and young people each year and is probably the largest specialist CFS/ME service in the world. It is a research intensive clinical service dedicated to providing the best treatment possible for children with CFS/ME. 

Esther trained in Oxford, and then worked in Birmingham and Liverpool before doing her PhD (investigating the genetics of children with arthritis) at University College London and Great Ormond Street Hospital. She then moved to Bristol and Bath and set up the paediatric CFS/ME service. She is deputy chair of the CFS/ME Research Collaborative, was Chair of the British Association for CFS/ME (BACME, 2007-2010), set up the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health special interest group for CFS/ME, was on the guideline development group for the NICE guidelines published in August 2007 and the MRC CFS/ME expert working group (2009-2010).

Esther is passionate about improving the lives of children with CFS/ME. She has published published widely on the epidemiology of CFS/ME and the impact it has on children, their carers and society and is currently leading two large treatment trials to try and improve the treatment children receive. 



Activities / Findings

Our research has led to some important papers for children with CFS/ME including:  the first paper describing CFS/ME in primary school children, and the first paper to describe different phenotypes of paediatric CFS/ME. We also recently showed that 1% of secondary school children missed one day a week because of CFS/ME. In most cases, it is neither diagnosed or treated.


My priority for teaching over the last 7 years has been to provide training nationally for both clinicians and education professionals in the diagnosis, management and recent research findings in paediatric CFS/ME. I developed the department of health training package for the diagnosis and management of CFS/ME (2004) which I delivered to all CFS/ME services. I then developed basic and advanced workshops for health professionals as well as a separate package for teachers/tutors/attendance officers which I have delivered to >70 groups of clinicians/schools/commissioners (2008-11). I take teaching seriously and I am joint element lead for Child Health in the Community Orientated Medical Practice (COMP 1) unit of the clinical medical undergraduate degree (260 students).


  • Epidemiology Paediatrics


  • CFS ME fatigue


  • qualitative research


My main research interests are: The Epidemiology of CFS/ME in children - Children who miss school have been screened each term for fatigue, Analysis is underway to determine: the prevalence and incidence of CFS/ME in secondary schools; whether children who are identified by screening are different to those referred for rehabilitation by health services. Memory and concentration problems in children with CFS/ME - The first part of this study demonstrated significant problems in memory and attention in children with CFS/ME. Children are now being examined 6 months after treatment started, to see whether their memory and concentration problems change with treatment. Anxiety in children with CFS/ME - This research compares anxiety in children with CFS/ME with best friend controls. Predictors of disease severity and outcome in children with CFS/ME - The CFS/ME service provides assessment and treatment for over 150 children a year.

  • epidemiology
  • children
  • fatigue
  • CFS
  • ME
  • concentration
  • anxiety
  • Memberships


    Bristol Medical School (PHS)

    Other sites

    Centres, collaborations and units

    Recent publications

    View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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