Care for MS ‘not good enough’ in Warwickshire

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People with multiple sclerosis in Warwickshire have among the poorest access in England to help for their mood and emotions, according to a new report.

Some 66 per cent of people with MS surveyed by the MS Society across Warwickshire have not received the help they need.

The survey also found that a third of people with MS who needed to had not been able to see an MS nurse in the last twelve months, and that only one in ten had been offered the chance to take part in a self management course – designed to help people independently manage their condition.

The MS Society surveyed 109 people from Warwickshire as part of a nationwide poll of more than 10,000 adults living with MS in the largest ever UK survey among people with MS.

Nick Rijke, director for policy and research for the MS Society, said: “Around half of all people with MS experience depression and a similar number suffer from anxiety so help to manage these symptoms can make a huge difference to people’s lives.

“We also know that stress has a measurable impact on how active and aggressive MS is, so psychological and physical health should be addressed together, with equal importance.

“People with MS are facing a lottery when it comes to care.”

The findings come as the MS Society launches the ‘Stop the MS Lottery’ campaign in MS Week, calling for all people with MS to have fair access to the treatments and services they need, when they need them, wherever they live in the UK.

The charity has published a report called “A lottery of treatment and care: MS services across the UK”. It uncovers major disparities across the UK in access to MS medicines, social care support, employment support and MS health professionals.

For example, in contrast to Warwickshire, Buckinghamshire rated as one of the best places in England for accessing mood and emotional support, with two thirds (66%) of eligible people receiving them.

The survey also found that, in Warwickshire, three quarters of people with MS who needed to had been able to see a physiotherapist in the last twelve months, and over 80 per cent of people with MS who needed a powered wheelchair had received one.

The condition affects about 800 people in Warwickshire. The charity says it will work with the NHS to improve the help they receive.