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Standing up for neurology services in parliament

MS Society volunteer, Jessica, shares her experience of representing people living with MS at our Neurology Now parliamentary event. And on speaking to MPs about the realities of UK neurology services.

Along with four other volunteers, I recently represented the MS community at the Neurology Now event in parliament.

It was a privilege to be able to speak directly to MPs about the realities of MS and access to crucial services.

Supporting the Neurology Now campaign

Given my reliance on a variety of neurology services, I was extremely keen to support the Neurology Now campaign. Attending the event in parliament was a brilliant way to get directly involved and influence UK governments with my own knowledge and experiences.

I’m grateful I received such high quality support and treatment from the neurology services in Plymouth. I can’t even begin to imagine what my physical and mental health would be like now. Yet this isn’t the reality for many people living with neurological conditions.

It absolutely breaks my heart to hear about overstretched and underfunded neurology services across the UK.

My MS journey

I was diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) in December 2005. I was 24 years old. My first attack was an extremely intense period of my life. I spent six months in hospital, including several weeks in a neuro rehabilitation unit. I experienced a variety of MS symptoms in quick succession, and doctors initially thought I’d had a stroke.

First I lost the ability to walk, followed by loss of my short-term memory, blindness, and an inability to control my bladder as well as losing the ability to feed, dress and wash myself.

Thankfully, I was offered a new treatment for MS. This helped to move me into remission and those abilities I’d lost began to improve. I experienced exemplary service from the neurology service in Plymouth, and I can’t thank them enough.

Representing the MS community in Parliament

I felt the team of volunteers and MS Society staff made a really strong and positive impression on MPs who attended the event in parliament. In future, I would love the opportunity to speak to more government representatives face to face.

The conversations that I and the other volunteers had with MPs on the day were a good reminder of how little awareness of conditions like MS there is in some areas of UK governments. It felt incredibly important for government officials to speak directly with those who live with MS and hear about our very real and varied experiences.

Neurology services need urgent support

Neurology teams work incredibly hard to support all of their service users to the highest standards. But without appropriate funding and support from our governments, this is impossible.

Too many people are living without the medically approved guidance they so desperately need and the situation is reaching a breaking point. People with MS are seeing their conditions worsen physically and mentally due to being unable to access the right support and treatment.

Change needs to happen now before service users end up having to rely on other NHS services that are already at capacity.

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