A new report published today by the MS Trust shows that 64 per cent of people living with MS in the UK – around 68,000 people – live in areas where there aren’t enough MS nurses to provide vital care and support.
There are worrying variations in care and support for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients across the UK, the charity has warned.
Research by MS Trust found almost one in four people with MS live in areas where nurses have to care for twice the recommended numbers.
It said not having the right care and support can have serious consequences for the health of people with MS.
Amy Bowen, director of service development at the MS Trust, said too many people are going without specialist support – either they have no MS nurse near them, or their nurse is having to manage a caseload far in excess of the recommended sustainable number.
“At the MS Trust we believe that MS nurses play a vital role in helping people deal with the shock of diagnosis and can help them adjust to, and manage, life with MS,” said Amy Bowen, Director of Service Development at the MS Trust. “Our research shows that too many people are going without this specialist support – either they have no MS nurse near them, or their nurse is having to manage a caseload far in excess of the recommended sustainable number. This can have grave consequences for people with MS. They may have to rely on non-specialist support for what is a highly complex disease. And they may have to resort to using A&E services if their symptoms become worse.”
“As we know, the NHS is coming under increasing strain, and MS specialist services are often not a priority. That’s why the MS Trust is stepping up to the plate with the #No1alone campaign. We have mapped services across the UK and highlighted the areas in greatest need. Now we are determined to fund, train and support new MS nurses to make a difference for thousands of people living with MS today.”
The charity has mapped services across the UK and highlighted the areas in greatest need.
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The MS Trust is committed to supporting and developing MS specialist services in the UK because we believe that this will result in the best care for people living with MS.
Access to specialist services, and in particular MS nurses, is essential if people living with MS are to receive the full range of support they might need.
We work hard to produce evidence to identify what is required and demonstrate the value of specialist services.
Once services are in place, we provide specialist education and continuing professional development for health and social care professionals to ensure high quality services are maintained. Many people assume that this will be provided by the NHS. Sadly it is not, which is why the MS Trust’s education programme is a vital factor in building MS specialist services in the UK.
The MS Trust has long campaigned to increase the number of MS nurses in the UK, but there are still not enough.
Worse still, some existing MS nurses are at risk. The MS Trust’s MS Nurse Support Programme plays a crucial role in protecting and developing these specialists. We offer one to one mentoring, advocacy to specialists facing reviews of their services and a range of tools to help them audit their own services and to demonstrate their own value.