Saturday, 12 July 2008

NHS 'failing' multiple sclerosis patients

A report published by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the MS Trust states the NHS is failing people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The report identified that the estimated 85,000 people in the UK with MS are subject to a "postcode lottery", with access to basic services - including pain relief - a matter of geographical location.

The NHS is still failing to implement 2003 National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines on the management of the condition.

An audit of services revealed that only 36% of people with MS had access to neurological rehabilitation facilities and long delays mean 50% of patients are waiting more than 20 weeks to be diagnosed after a GP referral.

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the MS Society said: "It's vital that health services are held to account and this latest audit confirms what our 40,000 members tell us - people with MS need access to more and better care.

"The NICE guideline sets out a laudable range of care and support on paper but it needs to be backed up in practice."