This page has a summary of the services available to you, including:
- GP Services
- MS nurses
- Occupational therapists
- Multi-disciplinary teams
To find MS specialists and other treatments and therapies in your local area, go to the ‘near me’ section.
To choose GPs and other health services use the NHS service directory:
For a full list of the various professionals that can be involved in providing health care for people with MS, see our publication 'A guide to health care services'.
Everyone entitled to NHS care can get a General Practitioner (GP). They are responsible for your general health and will often be the first person you contact about symptoms.
Your GP will be informed when you’re diagnosed with MS. This should happen quickly and in writing.
GPs have a broad overview of health conditions. They will have hundreds of people on their lists, and it’s likely only a few will have MS so they will not normally have detailed knowledge of MS.
It is still important to visit your GP as they can refer you to a specialist.
If you’re not happy with your GP, you have the right to change to a new one.
MS nurses can be an invaluable source of information and advice. If you have not already been offered an appointment, you can ask your GP or neurologist for a referral.
If there isn’t an MS nurse in your area, it’s worth asking if you can be referred to a specialist neurological nurse. Occasionally, MS nurses take 'self-referrals', meaning you can ring them directly and ask for an appointment.
There is currently at least one MS nurse or facilitator in each health board area in Scotland. Your GP or neurologist will usually set up your first appointment with them. In many areas you can also contact them directly (self referral).
MS nurses or facilitators use a coordinated approach that can help you manage your MS. The role also involves acting as a kind of consultant, working with GPs, other therapists, employers and with MS charities.
Neurologists are responsible diagnosing MS and prescribing treatments.
You’ll have ongoing follow-up appointments after diagnosis, particularly if you have a relapse or your condition changes.
If you are experiencing new symptoms, or there is a change in your condition, you can ask your GP or MS nurse to refer you to your neurologist. You don’t have to wait for your next scheduled appointment, which may be some time away.
How do I see a neurologist privately?
To see a neurologist privately, you need to be referred by your GP.
Your GP should have details of local private neurologists, but you should check that the one you see specialises in MS.
If you do see a neurologist privately, you may not be picked up by the NHS system, and, for example, get a referral to an MS nurse or other specialists.
You might need to ask your GP to help with the follow up process.
Occupational therapists are generally known as OTs.
They can help you find equipment and aids that can make tasks simpler, and help you find new ways of doing things.
Physiotherapists use techniques such as exercise and movement of the body to improve health. Some physiotherapists train in neurology and are known as ‘neuro-physiotherapists’.
If you experience a relapse or have new symptoms that affect day-to-day tasks, you might benefit from physiotherapy. Speak to your GP about getting a referral.
If you have a relapse or new symptoms, your GP or MS nurse may refer you to another specialist for assessment and treatment. The various specialists, therapists and nurses should ideally work together in what are known as multi-disciplinary teams.
They will often work in different locations, some in hospitals, others in local clinics and some may be based at your GP practice, which means you may need to go to a number of different locations for medical appointments.
Pharmacies prepare and dispense 'prescription-only' medicines to the general public. Most are private businesses but there are some in NHS hospitals for people being treated there.
Pharmacies can give advice on:
- how to use prescription-only and non-prescription (or 'over-the-counter') medicines
- side effects from medicines
- which medicines may interact badly with each other
Some pharmacies also provide equipment, and some may also be able to prescribe medicines.
When it is not possible for you to be treated by your GP, nurse, or therapist, you may have to go to hospital.
Hospital treatment is generally arranged by a doctor, unless you are going for emergency treatment.
See our publication ‘A guide to health care services’ for more information about:
- Getting to and from hospital
- Help with health costs
- Preparing for a hospital stay and discharge
- Getting health care professionals to explain treatments
- Information on NHS continuing care
- Your medical records