Rise in avoidable hospital admissions for people with MS

Tuesday 2 May 2017

More people with MS are being admitted to hospital for emergency care that could be avoided, according to new figures published last week.

Wilmington Healthcare is an organisation that provides healthcare data and insight. They worked with the MS Trust to analyse hospital admission records of people in England over the past two years. They found that:

  • There were 26,679 emergency hospital admissions for people with MS in 2015/16, compared to 23,665 in 2013/14. That's an increase of 12.7%

These admissions have cost the NHS a total of £46 million.

  • A large proportion of this emergency care was for problems which could have been avoided, like urinary tract infections, respiratory issues, and bladder and bowel issues.
  • One in five of all people living with MS in England were admitted to hospital as an emergency in 2015/16.

Prevention is key

Sue Thomas, from Wilmington Healthcare, says this latest report shows the problems highlighted in their original 2013/4 analysis have increased.

But if more was done earlier to prevent the need for emergency care, people with MS would benefit greatly. It would also reduce pressures on struggling A&E departments.

Time to improve access to the right support

We know how crucial it is for people with MS to have access to timely and personalised treatment, care and support. But the hallmarks of this are lacking. In our 2016 My MS My Needs survey, just 12% of people said they’d been offered a care plan or care plan review, and 17% said their health and care professionals don't work well together at all.

We must address problems before they reach crisis

Genevieve Edwards, our Director of External Affairs, said: “It’s really important that people with MS are able to receive specialist support when they need it.

“Having access to health professionals providing a range of support, such as MS nurses, physiotherapists and continence specialists means that people can address problems before they get into crisis.

“We want to see more people with MS being offered annual reviews of treatment and care which draw on expertise from a range of health professionals. This would mean people were able to take greater control of their care, and could mean emergency admissions of people with MS are avoided.”