Brand new Advanced MS Champions established
We are now delighted to announce that our fourth and fifth Advanced MS Champions have started in post. Nicola Hare will cover the Poole area, while Ruth O’Regan is based in Norwich. Ruth and Nicola will bring invaluable support to people living with advanced MS in these areas by coordinating care across different services inside and outside the NHS, working across boundaries in the NHS and social care to ensure more joined-up care, and helping people with advanced MS, as well as their families and carers, to understand their condition and manage symptoms. Recruitment is ongoing for our sixth Champion and we will bring news on this as soon as we have it.
We spoke to Ruth O’Regan about what she’s looking forward to most about her new role: “I’m looking forward to having the time to spend with patients,” Ruth told us. “All too often we are too rushed, so it’s nice to have the opportunity to sit with them and listen to their needs and work more holistically with them.”
In November 2019, we brought all five of the Champions together for an away day. This gave them the opportunity to discuss best practices, challenges and to exchange helpful tips for overcoming problems. Denise Middleton, who has worked as an Advanced MS Clinical Specialist in central and North West London for around 20 years, led a Q&A session, which enabled her to impart her years of experience in the field.
At this meeting, we were also thrilled to announce that Lindsay Lord has had her role at the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust made permanent. The positive impact her role has had on the region is highlighted in the evaluation of her first 15 months in post. This showed savings to the NHS of almost £250,000 through the avoidance of hospital admissions, with 79 potential admissions avoided through Lindsay’s interventions.
Read more here: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/news/views-and-comments/introducing-our-new-advanced-ms-champions
MS Trust launches campaign to illustrate nurse shortages
A desperate lack of MS nurses in the UK has forced the MS Trust to today (Nov 26th) launch its #fairMScare campaign to raise awareness of the shortage.
Latest figures show there are now approximately 130,000 people in the UK with MS, an increase of 21% on previous estimates. These nurses provide vital care for patients but many are missing out, simply because there are not enough nurses to meet the demand.
The MS Trust believe that everyone with MS should have access to an MS specialist nurse. MS nurses are vital for people living with MS. They help them adjust to diagnosis, consider complicated treatment options, manage a wide range of symptoms and learn to live well with an unpredictable, often debilitating, lifelong condition.
80% of people with MS are living in areas where MS nurses have caseloads in excess of the sustainable figure of 315, and of those people, nearly a quarter (36,000) live in areas where caseloads are twice the recommend level. This means that people with MS are missing out on vital care and nurses are overloaded.
MS nurses also save the NHS money, research has found that the MS Trust’s specialist nurse programme demonstrate that each nurse that the MS Trust funds saves an average of £72k, in fewer hospital admissions, visits to A&E, neurologists and GPs.
With clear benefits to those with MS as well as the NHS, the MS Trust is working hard to address the shortage of MS nurses. Through its Specialist Nurse Programme, the charity has already funded seven extra nurses in the areas across the UK that need them most.
David Martin, CEO at the MS Trust, said: “MS specialist nurses do a fantastic job, but they are coming under increasing pressure to deliver the same exceptional level of care while taking on more and more patients. As a result, we know that many people with MS are missing out on the specialist support they need and deserve.
“This is simply not right or fair. We’ve launched our new campaign to highlight this desperate shortage of MS nurses across the UK, and we now call on the government and health ministers to work with us to ensure people with MS are not left to manage their MS alone.”