Our access to MS treatments policies

People with MS need timely access to professionals across health and social care to best manage their condition.

We want to see all licensed treatments for MS made available on the NHS, across the UK.

Early treatment for MS

We know early treatment for MS improves long-term health and wellbeing by slowing down the build up of irreversible damage and reducing the number of relapses people experience.

Read our early treatment for MS policy position to find out more.

Read our early treatment for MS policy position

MS treatment and care

We believe people with MS should have timely access to professionals and be at the centre of decision-making about their treatment and care. Here are some of our recommendations:

  • conversations about treatment options, including DMTs, should begin close to diagnosis, with follow-up after diagnosis within six weeks and again within six months.
  • all licensed treatments for MS should be made available on the NHS in the home nations.
  • people with MS should be offered a comprehensive review of their care at least once a year that draws on expertise across a multidisciplinary team.

Read our report to see our full recommendations.

Download our MS treatment and care policy position

Cannabis and MS

Dealing with pain and spasticity when you have MS is relentless and exhausting. It can make it impossible to manage daily life. Most people with MS will experience these symptoms at some point.

In November 2018, the UK government legalised cannabis for medicinal use, but also put a strict criteria in place for who could access it. Only specialist doctors are allowed to prescribe unlicensed forms of medicinal cannabis, and so far only a handful of people have benefited from the change in law.

There’s also a licensed cannabis-based treatment called Sativex, but it doesn’t work for everyone. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland it's approved for use on the NHS for ‘moderate’ to ‘severe’ spasticity (muscle spasms and stiffness). But you can have it only if other treatments haven’t worked. It’s not yet approved in Scotland but we hope it soon will be.

We last updated this page on 08-04-2022