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Tuesday 25th October 2016

NHS must do more for MS

20th July 2006

20072006_ms1.jpgA report commissioned by the MS Trust and the Royal College of Physicians said that the NHS has barely begun to implement recommendations made over two years ago to improve care of people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

MS, which affects about 85,000 people in the UK, is a disease of the central nervous system, causing the break down of the myelin sheath which coats nerve fibres.

The report, 'NHS Services for people with Multiple Sclerosis: A National Survey', found services were of 'low quality and inadequate quantity' and calls for faster diagnosis, more specialist services and better tailored care.

The study examined how strategic health authorities, primary care trusts and hospitals were dealing with MS; it found disappointing levels of progress and a lack of data collection which made assessing reform difficult. It is critical of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and its failure to set concrete targets.

Professor Dame Carol Black, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said the findings suggested MS was a low priority in the NHS.

The chief executive of the MS Trust, Christine Jones, said the disease was ignored because it was difficult to treat, although adding that there are some pockets of excellent practice.

Dr Gillian Leng, of NICE, said that at the time of the guideline's publication in November 2003 it was widely seen as representing a catalyst for change. She acknowledged that the report indicates that the NHS can do more to implement the guideline's key recommendations in order to ensure that people with MS are receiving the best possible levels of care.

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