Charity launch new campaign highlighting desperate shortage of MS nurses

Today the MS Trust launches its #fairMScare campaign, aimed at raising awareness about the desperate shortage of MS nurses in the UK.

Latest figures show there are now approximately 130,000 people in the UK with MS, an increase of 21% on previous estimates. For many of these people MS nurses are a lifeline. Yet often people are missing out on the vital care and support these nurses provide, simply because there are not enough nurses to meet the demand.

An MS nurse should have a caseload of 315, yet up to 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 recommended level. This means people with MS are missing out the best possible care, and overstretches diligent nurses.

The MS Trust believe that everyone with MS should have access to an MS specialist nurse. 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.

MS nurses also save the NHS money. Emerging findings from 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 have already funded seven extra nurses in the areas across the UK that need them most.

David Martin (pictured), CEO at the MS Trust, commented: “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.”

The MS Trust estimates that up to 115 new specialist nurses are needed to truly address the postcode lottery, and to ensure everyone living with MS in the UK can access the specialist support and care they need to live well with the condition.

Picture (c) MS Academy / Youtube.