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Thursday 24th May 2018

MS guidelines 'missed'

10th July 2008

An audit of services across England and Wales for people with multiple sclerosis has found evidence of long waits for diagnosis and poor care.

The review, carried out by the MS Trust, found that the NHS was failing to meet national guidelines issued five years ago to improve the diagnosis and care of people with multiple sclerosis.

The recent review from health minister Lord Darzi said that the NHS would improve services but the MS Trust survey discovered that rehabilitation services were available to only a third of patients and examples of good treatment were a “geographical accident.”

The audit found that best practice guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in 2003 were still not being followed for the neurological condition, which affects about 85,000 people in the UK.

Half of newly-diagnosed patients waited more than 20 weeks for referral from their GP for their diagnosis and only 36% of patient had access to neurological rehabilitation services.

The MS Trust and the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), which co-authored the audit, have called for primary care trusts to commission more rehabilitation services.

Christine Jones from the MS Trust said: “If you have MS and access to the services you need, you are in a fortunate position - unfortunately it is still a matter of geographical accident.”

Professor Ian Gilmore from the RCP said: “It seems incredible that after five years we are no nearer to commissioning the full range of services that MS patients need and deserve.”


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