MS costs the economy £1.4bn25th November 2008
A study has suggested that the UK economy could be paying out £1.4 billion annually in NHS and social care for multiple sclerosis sufferers.
Research carried out by a team at King's College London involved 2,000 MS patients. The survey found the average cost of supporting a patient each year was almost £17,000.
The study, published in the Pharmacoeconomics journal, said once "loss of earnings" were factored in, the cost increased to £25,000.
MS is thought to affect around 85,000 people in the UK. A person with the condition suffers symptoms - including paralysis and sight problems - caused by their immune system attacking itself.
The research team interviewed people who belonged to the MS Society in order to talk about their treatment and how their jobs had been impacted.
Of those surveyed 50% had given up work because of the condition. One fifth said they were still working, but on a part-time basis. This cost about £8,500 in lost wages.
The study found that care costs, including "informal" care, were slightly less than £17,000 per patient.
Lead researcher Dr Paul McCrone said: "The costs associated with MS are substantial. Most of the service costs are hidden as they represent care provided by family members."
Daniel Berry, head of policy and campaigns at the MS Society, said people with MS should be given more support by the government so they could continue to work.
"Long-term investment in research and in support for carers would pay dividends for people living with MS and for the whole economy."
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Title: MS costs the economy £1.4bn
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 9339
Date Added: 25th Nov 2008