When Alan from Forres struggled to access the services he needed, he brought people together to campaign for change. He tells us why he's supporting our Get Loud for MS campaign.
I have become more and more aware of how difficult it is to access MS services in rural parts of the country.
I live in Forres and the journey to get to neurology appointments can be stressful enough, let alone being able to find an accessible parking space. Sometimes these factors can outweigh the benefits of the appointment itself.
Going years without seeing a specialist
This also applies to accessing rehab services. Some people in the Moray area will not have seen their specialist nurse or neurologist for many years because the journey is either out of the question or their health won’t allow them to make such a demanding trip.
For some this means several uncomfortable hours in the back of an ambulance.
Speaking up for new ideas
Through our campaign to improve MS services in the Moray area, we are asking for video conferencing equipment. This could mean the difference of having an appointment and not having an appointment. If video conferencing was available and accessible closer to people's homes they could speak with specialists about their health concerns, some for the first time in years.
New ways of working, such as e-health, can help people maintain their independence and manage their condition more effectively. The system at present is under pressure and if health and social care do not embrace new ideas, then we could see the situation becoming even worse.
Making welfare make sense
On top of this, I want politicians to be aware of just how punishing and stressful assessments for welfare payments can be. Many MS symptoms are invisible and the present process doesn’t take this into account. We need a welfare system which respects people and also has human rights at its centre.
Let’s make some noise
In my opinion, MS has a low profile – and I am glad that the MS Society are making noise and standing up for us in terms of access to better care, more treatments and urging the government to take notice. That’s why I am supporting the Get Loud for MS campaign and would encourage anyone with an interest in improving the lives of people with MS to do so too.