Charity calls on Chancellor to address ‘unaffordable’ care costs facing MS patients

Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) are facing soaring care costs, with many unable to pay for the care they need, a charity has warned.

The MS Society has estimated that people with the condition will be forced to shell out more than £110,000 over 25 years for care.

Many patients with the condition are being forced to choose between getting care and paying for everyday essentials, it said.

A small poll of 215 people with MS found that almost one in five (19%) said they could not afford the support they require, the charity said.

Half said they had to rely on family and friends more, as a result of lacking support.

And 44% said they only get some or none of the care they need.

The charity analysed care costs paid by people with the condition who self fund their care, or those who contribute towards their care costs, and found that each year people were, on average, forking out more £4,400.

Over the course of 25 years this equates to more than £110,000.

The charity has called on the Government to address the issue through investment in the social care system and its forthcoming Green Paper on social care.

Genevieve Edwards, director of external affairs at the MS Society, said: “MS is often painful and exhausting and many people rely on care to help them manage this unpredictable condition.

“Faced with such unaffordable care fees, people with MS are being forced to choose between getting care and paying for other everyday essentials.

“The question of how social care should be funded has been left unanswered for too long, leaving people with MS paying the price for a system in crisis.

“We’re urging the Chancellor to give social care the immediate investment it needs in this upcoming Budget so people can get the care they need now.”

MS affects about 100,000 people in Britain.

It is a condition which can affect the brain and/or spinal cord, causing a wide range of potential symptoms, such as problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation or balance.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “People with multiple sclerosis should receive the care they need to lead happy and independent lives and to support this we have provided local authorities access to £9.4 billion in dedicated social care funding over the last three years.

“In the autumn, we’ll set out our plans to reform the social care system, including funding, to make it sustainable for the future.”

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