Despite 1 in 6 people in the UK living with a neurological condition, neurology services have been stretched, underfunded and overlooked for years – this can’t continue. Today, we published new research showing how MS and neurology services have been affected during the pandemic.
Now the situation is critical
Our new report shows the pandemic has put extra strain on already stretched services. Nearly a third (29%) of people living with MS had appointments cancelled or delayed during the pandemic.
And nearly two thirds (63%) of MS professionals find it very challenging to provide a good service to everyone. In some areas people with MS get great care and feel supported by their team. But this isn't the case everywhere in the UK – made even worse by the pandemic.
Getting help was almost impossible
Ayad, 24, in Leeds has had a difficult experience with getting support from his MS team through the pandemic.
“Understandably during the pandemic, it wasn’t possible to have face-to-face appointments, however my condition was rapidly declining. Getting through to a consultant about this was almost impossible, even telephone appointments were far and few.
“Unfortunately, over the course of the pandemic I have gone from skipping daily to using a wheelchair daily”
Phillip Anderson, our Head of Policy says:
“The latest findings from our #NeurologyNow report paint a stark picture of the UK’s neurology services. After years of neglect, the pandemic has pushed these vital services to breaking point – and they can’t continue under such strain. Healthcare professionals – from neurologists and MS nurses, to occupational therapists and physiotherapists – are working themselves ragged but still finding it impossible to deliver the care that is needed with the resources available to them.
“Our report shows the tragic effect this situation has on real people. MS can be relentless, painful and disabling, and responding to our survey many people with MS told us their symptoms had got worse during the pandemic – with over half saying not getting specialist support contributed to this. This urgently needs to change, starting with UK Governments prioritising neurology services by making and resourcing national neurology plans. They must ensure people with neurological conditions aren’t left behind in the wake of the pandemic.”
Almost 8,000 of you signed our open letter
We asked you to sign and share our letter telling governments across the UK to act now and give urgent funding and support to neurology and MS services.
Thank you to the thousands of you who did! We handed it in at Westminster on Tuesday 26 October. We'll be handing letters to the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments in the coming weeks.