Potentially thousands with MS missing out on crucial treatments

Published date: 16 Aug 2016 at 7:05AM

A sizeable amount of people living with MS are at risk of being forgotten by the NHS.

One in ten of those with relapsing MS haven’t seen an MS nurse or neurologist for over a year. Among this group, just 12% are taking a disease modifying therapy (DMT) which could reduce relapses and slow progression of MS.

However, 73% of those who have seen a specialist within the last year are taking a DMT.

Access to MS treatments – still a lottery?

Building on our research from 2013, we carried out a second My MS My Needs survey this year to ask people with MS how they felt about their care. Over 11,000 people with MS across the UK responded, making it the biggest survey we’ve ever conducted.

We’ve published the results in a series of reports for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The results have helped us uncover a picture of variation that still exists across the country – both in treatments and in care.

Left behind  

Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of the MS Society, said: “Potentially thousands of people with MS, who could benefit from a DMT, have not seen a neurologist or specialist nurse in the last year or more. These people risk being forgotten by the NHS.

“For too long patients have been sent away from medical appointments to ‘wait and see’ if their condition worsens – even though experts agree people should be treated close to diagnosis.

“We can’t let this forgotten minority be left behind – we need to work closely with MS professionals to understand why people aren’t able to access the right treatment at the right time. We know this is cost effective and will improve health outcomes.”

Annual reviews

We’re calling for every person with MS to be offered a review of their treatment and care by an MS specialist at least once a year.

>> Download our guide about speaking to your specialist.

Page last updated: 16 Aug 2016

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